Being in the military brings a special set of challenges for active duty service members and their families, especially during times of overseas deployments. However, service members in the Reserves and National Guard also have their own unique set of challenges. In addition to their military obligations they also often have full-time civilian jobs and families that are much more settled. So when a service member in the Reserves or National Guard is temporarily mobilized or deployed on active duty status, their families often have to deal with important questions, involving everything from what to do about their civilian jobs to whether they need to sell their house or prematurely break a lease. Fortunately, many of these questions have clear answers as there are federal and state laws that provide significant protections for service members transitioning to full-time active duty status. This section will provide you with an overview of those protections and what steps you can take to utilize them.
You may be happy to learn that your job is protected if you ever face a conflict between your military service obligations and your civilian job. Federal law under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), prohibits employers from discriminating against you based on your military service and in most cases ensures that your job, and any workplace benefits you would have accrued while you’re away, will be there for you when you return from active duty. Of course, there are steps you must take with your employer in order to take advantage of these protections. This section will show you how to do so and what remedies and resources are available to you if your employer fails to comply with USERRA’s requirements.
Housing Protections and Other Benefits
Because transitioning to full-time military service often requires relocation (stateside or overseas), federal law under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), provides a variety of protections to assist during the transition. For example, the SCRA allows you to terminate any housing lease early without any legal consequences. It also allows you to stay any civil legal proceedings against you as well as any efforts to obtain and enforce judgments against you while you’re on active duty and also provides specific protections against creditors. The SCRA is a valuable asset for service members and can make a significant difference for you and your family as you face a mobilization or deployment. This section will provide you with information about these important protections and what you need to do to enforce them.
With all of the federal and state law protections available to assist your transition to active duty, it’s important for you to know which ones are relevant to you and how you can go about utilizing them. Because of this, you should contact an attorney that specializes in military law and benefits. An attorney can advise you of your rights and can also prepare the necessary paperwork to secure your protections, from court filings to letters to creditors.