Yesterday, the Senate passed bipartisan legislation co-introduced by Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) that would protect spouses of deceased servicemembers from car lease penalties and spouses of catastrophically injured servicemembers from penalties associated with residential and car leases.
The Gold Star Spouses and Spouses of Injured Servicemembers Leasing Relief Expansion Act
was included as part of the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Senator Tillis co-introduced the stand-alone bill
in April with Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Jack Reed (D-RI).
"Military spouses play a vital role in supporting our servicemembers and often handle signing a lease for a home or automobile when servicemembers receive orders to relocate," said Senator Tillis
. "I am proud this bipartisan legislation that will provide military spouses with relief and financial protections to help them during an incredibly difficult time for their family was included in the NDAA."
Military families may relocate frequently or suddenly as the result of a servicemember's military orders, and these moves often involve entering into leases for a house, apartment, or other dwelling, or an automobile. If a servicemember dies or sustains a catastrophic injury or illness during military service, his or her spouse may be forced to pay off the remainder of that residential or automobile lease or face a penalty for breaking the lease.
The bipartisan Gold Star Spouses and Spouses of Injured Servicemembers Leasing Relief Expansion Act amends the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to expand existing financial protections for military families' residential and car leases in the following ways:
- Allows the spouse of a servicemember who died while in military service to terminate a motor vehicle lease during the one-year period beginning on the date of the death of the servicemember, if that servicemember died while in military service or while performing full-time National Guard duty, active Guard and Reserve duty, or inactive-duty training.
- Allows the spouse of a servicemember who sustained a catastrophic injury or illness to terminate a residential lease AND a motor vehicle lease during the one-year period beginning on the date of the injury or illness of the servicemember, if that servicemember sustained the injury or illness while in military service or while performing full-time National Guard duty, active Guard and Reserve duty, or inactive-duty training.
- Contact: Daniel Keylin