Public Law 108-189
Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003
Prime Sponsor: Mr. Christopher H. Smith of New Jersey
Signed by the President December 19, 2003
- Expand current law that protects servicemembers and their families from eviction from housing while on active duty due to nonpayment of rents that are $1,200 per month or less. Under the new provisions this protection would be significantly updated to meet today’s higher cost of living – covering housing leases up to $2,400 per month – and then be adjusted annually to account for inflation.
- Provide a servicemember who receives permanent change of station orders or who is deployed to a new location for 90 days or more the right to terminate a housing lease.
- Clarify and restate existing law that limits to 6 percent interest on credit obligations, including credit card debt, for active duty servicemembers. HR 100 unambiguously states that no interest above 6 percent can accrue for credit obligations while on active duty, nor can that excess interest become due once the servicemember leaves active duty – instead that portion above 6 percent is permanently forgiven. Furthermore, the monthly payment must be reduced by the amount of interest saved during the covered period.
- Update life insurance protections provided to activated Guard and reserve members by increasing from $10,000 to $250,000 the maximum policy coverage that the federal government will protect from default for nonpayment while on active duty.
- Prevent servicemembers from a form of double taxation that can occur when they have a spouse who works and is taxed in a state other than the state in which they maintain their permanent legal residence. HR 100 will prevent states from using the income earned by a servicemember in determining the spouse’s tax rate when they do not maintain their permanent legal residence in that state.
Text of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-189) [.pdf]