For Legal Practitioners
For Legal Practitioners
The Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative and the United States Attorney’s Offices are dedicated to enforcing the laws that address the rights of servicemembers, veterans, and their families. The content found on this page is designed to provide lawyers and legal professionals with the tools necessary to protect our servicemembers in the areas of lending, housing and financial affairs, employment, and voting.
Housing And Financial Affairs
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”), 50 U.S.C. §§ 3901-4043, is a federal law that provides protections for military members as they enter active duty. It covers issues such as rental agreements, security deposits, prepaid rent, evictions, installment contracts, credit card interest rates, mortgage interest rates, mortgage foreclosures, civil judicial proceedings, automobile leases, life insurance, health insurance and income tax payments. Please click here for an overview of the SCRA.
Members of the armed forces who serve their country, whether on overseas deployments, temporary reserve duty, or other forms of military service, have special employment rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994, Pub. L. No. 103-353, 108 Stat. 3149 (codified in scattered sections of 38 U.S.C.), commonly referred to as “USERRA.” In passing USERRA, Congress intended to clarify and strengthen prior veterans' rights statutes and encourage non-career service in the military. The basic purpose of USERRA is to ensure that servicemembers who leave their civilian employment and serve honorably in support of the mission of the United States' military have the assurance that once their service is completed, they will be able to return to their civilian careers with as little disruption and difficulty as possible. Please click here for an overview of USERRA.
The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) requires that the states and territories allow certain U.S. citizens who are away from their homes, including members of the uniformed services and the United States Merchant Marine, along with their family members, to register and vote absentee in federal elections. Please click here for an overview of UOCAVA.
The Department of Justice is dedicated to combating financial fraud and other scams targeting servicemembers, veterans, and their families each year. Financial fraud can be especially devastating to those servicemembers serving overseas who may not have the ability to enforce their rights here at home. The Department of Justice, using all the civil and criminal tools at our disposal including the civil and criminal units at the United States Attorney’s Offices and collaborating with our enforcement partners at the FTC, the SEC, and the CFPB, is working hard to strengthen our role in protecting servicemembers from financial fraud. Please click here for a link to the work of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch within the Department of Justice.
In an effort to enhance the Department’s ability to protect servicemembers, we recently submitted to Congress a legislative package of amendments to existing laws. The proposed amendments require parties seeking default judgments against servicemembers to check Department of Defense records to determine duty status, making it more difficult for unscrupulous creditors to take advantage of servicemembers on active duty. The amendments also increase penalties that employers, as well as lending and rental businesses, will face for violating laws designed to protect servicemembers. The legislative proposals expand the number and types of cases the United States can bring in defense of servicemembers attempting to return to their civilian employment upon completion of their military service, and the available remedies for violations of the voting rights of servicemembers and their families while they are overseas. And the proposed amendments seek to protect military families by affording dependent family members the same state residency rights as the servicemember, as well as requiring states to recognize a servicemember spouse’s professional licensures from other states. These changes will not only enhance the Department’s ability to bring enforcement actions, but also allow these men and women to assert their rights on their own. Please click here for more information.
Please click here for a list of helpful contacts and resources by topic.
USAO Servicemembers Toolkit
Please click here for a copy of the USAO Servicemembers Toolkit for legal practitioners.