WASHINGTON (10/17/11)--The House late last week approved H.R. 1263, a bill that would amend the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to extend protections against sale, foreclosure, and seizure of property to the surviving spouses of deceased servicemembers.
Members of the military and their spouses who are in financial distress would be protected from sale, foreclosure, or seizure of their property for 12 months under the legislation.
These protections would be in effect until Dec. 31, 2017. Current law protects military staff from foreclosure for nine months. However, those protections are set to expire on Dec. 31, 2012, and servicemembers would be protected only for 90 days if further action is not taken.
The bill, if passed into law, would also require credit unions and other lenders to create a new position to ensure their institution is in compliance with the SCRA. That employee also would be tasked with distributing information to servicemembers whose obligations and liabilities are covered by the law.
In addition, the bill would require institutions with annual assets greater than $10 billion to maintain a toll-free telephone number to provide assistance to members of the military. That number would need to be posted on the institutions website.
The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs late last week, and it would need Senate approval before it can be signed into law.