The Civil Relief Act Protects Service People from Hardship
Several laws in Illinois are designed to protect service people called to duty, and their families. The State of Illinois has made allowances in various rules and laws to ease immediate responsibilities for service men and women called to duty. The goal of these provisions is to prevent financial and other hardship that might result from active duty in the United States military.
Several laws in the United States are designed to protect service people who are called to active duty and their families. The Internal Revenue Service and the State of Illinois also make allowances in various rules and laws to ease immediate responsibilities for service personnel.
Under the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act, service people and their families are eligible for relief from eviction or foreclosure, and relief from some debt obligations. The goal of these provisions is to prevent financial hardship that might result from active duty in the U.S. military, either abroad or at home. Under an amendment to a federal act passed in 2002, even guardsmen who are called by a state governor to carry out homeland security activities are covered.
These protections are not automatic. They must be “triggered” by letting people and institutions know that the service member has been placed on active duty. It should be noted that documents and loans signed after mobilization orders are received are not covered.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act’s major provisions cover the following areas:
- Loan rate reduction
- Ending a lease
- Mortgage foreclosure prevention
- Installment credit
- Contract fines and penalties
- Property taxes
- Life insurance
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides that these protections continue only for a certain period of time after leaving military service.
Any area military base can provide assistance to service personnel and their families through the Legal Assistance Office. Further information is also available in a free brochure from the Illinois State Bar Association entitled “Called to Duty.”
Note: This information was prepared as a public service by the Illinois State Bar Association. Every effort has been made to provide accurate information at the time of publication. For the most current information, please consult your lawyer. If you need a lawyer and do not have one, visit our lawyer referral page.
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