Armed Finances for Armed Forces
If you or a member of your household has served in the military, there are a number of benefits you may be eligible for. If you have served your country, you have earned them. Don’t let any of them go to waste! Here is a list of six financial and educational resources available to those who have served in uniform.
- Free Credit Monitoring
Your credit score is very important to your financial health and well-being. The higher your credit score, the more probability you have of qualifying for loans and lines of credit (and usually the more favorable the terms will be for you.) There are three national credit tracking agencies. They are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Although every American is entitled to one free credit report per year, the three credit tracking companies must provide free electronic credit tracking services to all active duty military and National Guard personnel.
- The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
The SCRA is a law created to provide extra protection for active duty service members in the event that legal or financial transactions adversely affect their rights during military or uniformed service. Some of the protections afforded under the SCRA include protections against repossession of property, the ability to terminate residential and automobile leases without penalty, and the ability to reduce pre-service loans such as mortgage, auto, student loans or credit card debt to only 6% interest per year for the duration of your service. Commissioned officers of the Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are also covered by the SCRA. The array of options available to you as a servicemember are worth exploring further. Be sure to read the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s SCRA fact sheet.
- The Military Lending Act (MLA)
The Military Lending Act (MLA) was enacted in 2006 to protect servicemembers from predatory loans with annual rates over 36 percent. In 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau helped the Department of Defense expand the coverage of its MLA regulations. The goal of the Act is to prevent active, reserve, and veterans from being preyed upon by high-interest loans. Read more about the MLA here.
- The Forever GI Bill
You’re probably well aware of the GI Bill. But if you’ve been out of the service for a while, you may not be aware that the Forever GI Bill was passed in 2017. This bill introduced extensions of benefits and changes to the previous GI Bills. For example, students using the GI Bill may be able to receive back entitlement funding charged against them if their school closed while they were attending. Another benefit is that the VA will provide up to nine months of additional Post 9/11 benefits beyond the standard amount to students who are in STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) programs. The Forever GI Bill also eliminated many expirations on entitlements and benefits. Learn more about how the Forever GI Bill may affect you.
- Transferring GI Bill Benefits to Family Members
Are you an active duty or veteran that has completed your higher education goals, but have unused GI Bill education benefits left over? They don’t have to go to waste. You can transfer those benefits to your spouse, children or other eligible dependents to help lower their higher education costs. Learn more and determine eligibility for you or your family member.
- Boots to Business
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has developed tools and resources to help guide those veterans who have been eyeing entrepreneurship as part of their life after service. The program, called Boots to Business includes virtual and in-person classes and training to help vets succeed at becoming the next generation of American business leaders. Learn more about class schedules and details. While you’re looking into the SBA, be sure to check out the SBA Office of Veterans’ Business Development Resources for additional information.
No matter what branch you served or are serving in, we at BancorpSouth salute you. Real-life heroes rarely wear capes.
If you’re in the market for a home or looking to refinance, BancorpSouth Mortgage would like to celebrate all who serve our communities by offering you a $5001 Community Heroes Credit. This credit is eligible at the close of your next home purchase or refinance of your primary residence. Learn more.
Sources: U.S. Veterans Administration, militaryonesource.mil, Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, USA.gov