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Legal Offices help ensure service members’ civil relief

  • Published
  • By Capt. Riley Vann
  • 66th Air Base Group Office of the Staff Judge Advocate

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The Judge Advocate Office can assist members in understanding their rights under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

The SCRA is a federal law designed to ease financial burdens on members during periods of military service, and protect their assets from predatory companies. It provides a broad range of financial protection and covers issues such as rental agreements, prepaid rent, installment contracts, and civil judicial proceedings.

Since 2011, the Department of Justice has obtained more than $474 million in monetary relief for 120,000 service members suffering SCRA violations. 

In a recent SCRA violation case, a local storage company is facing a federal lawsuit for predatory practices against a former Hanscom Air Force Base Airman.

The noncommissioned officer had procured two storage units last year for use during a deployment. While deployed, the storage company sent in error notifications of non-payment to his home in Massachusetts and, after receiving no response, proceeded to auction off the contents of both storage units.

According to a DOJ release, the member returned home to find his possessions and personal items, including his grandfather’s service medals, photographs, family heirlooms and mementos from a cousin killed in action, had all been sold.

The member met with the Hanscom JA for legal assistance to discuss his options and because the storage company had not obtained a court order before they sold the sergeant’s belongings, they were therefore in violation of the SCRA.

Although they are unable to represent clients in court, legal assistance attorneys can provide free legal guidance to all active duty members, veterans with base access, and military dependents.

Law Centers can also assist with other legal referrals, including drafting wills and powers of attorney, notarizing documents, counsel landlord-tenant issues, divorce and custody questions, tax inquiries, and other personal civil legal matters.

For more information contact the legal office.