As I reflect on the 25th Anniversary of Operation Desert Storm many thoughts come to mind. At the time I was a 22-year old Corporal in the Marine Corps Reserves. When my unit was activated in December of 1990 it was the first time the “Chicago Marines” had been called up since the Korean War. So, unlike the National Guard and Reserve units of today, we didn’t really have an idea of what to expect.
However, like everything in the military, we did what we were told was necessary to prepare. Including a mountain of paperwork. We updated our medical records, executed powers of attorney and wills, and we were also provided with a copy of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (known then as the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act).
I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but the SCRA is a tremendous tool available to active duty military, including activated members of the Reserves and National Guard, to help them avoid returning from deployment to find their finances in ruin. The SCRA allows service members to be relieved of certain financial obligations, like a housing or vehicle lease, or a cell phone contract. It also requires creditors to reduce the interest on outstanding debt to no more than 6%, without penalty, from the date of deployment until up to 90-days after discharge from active duty.
This Act is useful in lessening the impact of the reduced income many National Guardsmen and Reservists face upon activation. With the number of citizen soldiers that have been called to active duty, sometimes more than once, over of the past 15-years, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act has never been so important.
In addition to the memories and lifelong friendships that came from my experience as an Operation Desert Storm veteran, I also earned my Certificate Of Eligibility (COE) for a VA loan. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I purchased my third home and after I became a REALTOR that I actually used my VA loan. In hindsight, I would say I just didn’t know all the benefits of using a VA loan. Nor, was I working with an agent or a lender that explained it to me.
That is why I have taken the Did You Serve? Pledge and I will make sure that all my clients who are eligible know about VA loans and are working with a great lender who offers them. If you want to learn more or know someone who does, please contact me. I am happy to help.
By John Keene, Broker Associate at Perry & Co.
If you would like to learn more about Perry & Co and receive benefits from the U.S. Military on the Move program, visit http://www.usmilitaryonthemove.com/memberprofile/PerryCo.
* Rebates are not allowed in all states. In some states, a gift card or commission credit at closing may be provided in lieu of the Cash-Back bonus. You must register with U.S. Military on the Move® before contacting a real estate agent and be represented by the assigned real estate firm at closing to qualify. All real estate transactions are negotiable. Other terms and conditions may apply.
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