Law updates Soldiers & Sailors Civil Relief Act
December 19, 2003, President Bush signed the “Servicemembers
Civil Relief Act,” new legislation that updates
and expands all military members’ important financial
and legal rights as they enter active duty or are deployed
to new duty stations. Authored by Veterans’ Affairs
Committee Chairman, Congressman Chris Smith, the Servicemembers
Civil Relief Act (SCRA) updates and strengthens current
civil protections enacted during World War II.
The SCRA provides a wide range of protections and
is intended to postpone or suspend certain civil obligations
to enable service members to devote full attention
to duty and relieve stress on family members of those
deployed servicemembers. A few examples of such obligations
you may expect to be protected against are:
credit card debt
• Pending trials
In addition, the new law:
• Expands current law that protects service
members 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 – an then
be adjusted annually to account for inflation.
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.
• Clarifies and restates existing law that limits
to 6% interest on credit card obligations, including
credit card debt, for active duty servicemembers. The
SCRA unambiguously states that no interest above 6%
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% is permanently forgiven. Furthermore, the monthly
payment must be reduced by the amount of interest saved
during the covered period.
• Updates 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.
• Prevents 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.
SCRA 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.
The SCRA covers all active duty service members, Reservists,
and members of the National Guard while on active duty.
The protection begins on the date of entering active
duty and generally terminates within 30-90 days after
the date of discharge from active duty. For the complete
text of the new law and answers to Frequently Asked
Questions, visit the website: http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/sscra/a/scra2.htm.
DMVA welcomes new Director of Veterans Programs.
William J. Devereaux joined DMVA’s staff
as the new Director of Veterans Programs on Monday,
26 January 2004. Mr. Devereaux is a highly decorated
combat wounded Vietnam veteran who saw service with
both the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. He has
been active in veterans’ organizations as a member
of both the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Disabled
American Veterans. Prior to his appointment as Director,
Mr. Devereaux served as a Veterans Service Officer
in Camden County.
CW5 (Ret) Robert L. Wimberly retires from state service.
(Ret) Robert Wimberly retired today as Chief of the
Veterans Benefits Bureau, where he oversaw the
operation of the Department’s successful Distinguished
Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Vietnam Service
Medal, and the Korean War Medal Programs. Thank you,
Mr. Wimberly, for your commitment and devotion to the
State’s veterans and the Department of Military
and Veterans Affairs. Best wishes and good luck on
Military Retirees will see a pay increase.
An estimated 150,000 military retirees will see an
increase in their pay on February 2. The National Defense
Authorization Act, enacted in November, significantly
modified a long-standing law preventing retirees from
receiving full retired pay if they also received disability
pay form the Department of Veterans Affairs. The new
law allows concurrent receipt of military retired pay
and VA disability pay for retirees with more than 20
years of service and a disability rating of 50 percent
or more. This restored pay will be phased in over a
10-year period that began January 1st. The first payments
are due February 2 for the law change that was effective
January 1. The additional funds also will be paid February
2 based on entitlement for January 1 to January 31.
The restored pay is paid on the same schedule as current
military retired pay. Recurring payments will be made
on the first business day of each month based on entitlement
for the month before. For more details regarding who
is eligible for the restored pay and how payments will
be made, visit www.dfas.mil and
see the topics under “Retired
and Annuitant Pay,” or visit the myPay website
Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial and Vietnam Era
Education Center’s upcoming event schedule.
For more information about any of these events, please
call the NJ Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation office
at (732) 335-0033.
|Author Lecture by Gerald R. Gioglio, who will
discuss his book, Days of Decision: An Oral History
of Conscientious Objectors I the Military During
Reservists Tax Break.
Under recently enacted legislation (PL 108-121), reservists
who travel more than 100 miles to attend weekend drills
without reimbursement for travel expenses are allowed
to deduct travel, food, and lodging expenses from federal
income taxes. Previously, reservists were expected
to itemize their travel mileage and expenses, which
had to exceed two percent of their gross income to
qualify for reimbursement. However, deductions can
be claimed with no limitations on the amount that can
be deducted in one year. Officials warn, though, that
deductions cannot exceed the federal rate for reimbursement,
which varies by location. Additionally, under the new
law, reservists who do not travel 100 miles for a drill
are still allowed to claim deductions if expenses exceed
two percent of their income. The benefits are part
of the Military Family Tax Relief Act of 2003 and apply
to expenses incurred after December 1, 2002.
New Jersey Army National Guard (NJARNG) Logistics
Advisory Committee Meeting
NJARNG Logistics Advisory Committee (LAC) conducted
its monthly meeting on Thursday, 22 January 2004, at
the National Guard Training Center (NGTC), Sea Girt,
New Jersey. The meeting was attended by USPFO-NJ, J4,
Major Subordinate Command (MSC) and selected Battalion
level logistical representatives. To assist unit commanders
in preparing their units for mobilization for the war
on terrorism, the LAC Committee Chairman, LTC Joseph
F. Sarama, focused the meeting on a pre-mobilization
training to be conducted for all battalion and individual
unit level supply sergeants. Primary training will
center on the Showdown Inspection of Organizational
Clothing & Individual Equipment, Central Issue
Facility Operations, and the requisitioning of Chemical
Defense Equipment. The training will be accomplished
during the conduct of the Semi Annual Logistics Training
Program, 19 February 2004 at the Training & Training
Technology Battle Lab (T3BL), Fort Dix, New Jersey.
Happenings – Check to see what’s
happening at an Armory near you.
Jan – 1 Feb
||Mount Holly Armory
||Jersey City Armory
||Cherry Hill Armory
||Cherry Hill Armory
Winter Games “Special Olympics”
Show & Sale
||Cherry Hill Armory
Card & Comics Show
||High School Wrestling Tournament
||NASCAR Collectibles Show
is Friday, 30 January 2004 and the 30th day of the
year. There are 337 days left in the year. On
• 1847 – The
town of Yerba Buena was renamed San Francisco.
• 1862 – The U.S. Navy’s first ironclad
warship, the “Monitor,” was launched.
• 1933 – “The Lone Ranger” premiered
on ABC radio. The program ran for 2,956 episodes and
ended in 1955.
• 1946 – 1st
issue of the Franklin Roosevelt dime.
• 1969 – Beatles perform their last gig
together – a 42-minute free concert.
• 1989 – Five
pharaoh sculptures from 1470 BC found at temple of
• 1992 – Space
Shuttle Discovery 15 lands.
• 2002 – Japan’s
last coal mine was closed due to high production
costs and cheap imports.
The first VCR was made in 1956 and was the size of
The eye makes movements 50 times every minute.
The first human-made object to break the sound barrier
was a whip.
The most used letters in the English language are
E, T, A, O, I, and N.
The first jukebox was located in San Francisco in