Veterans

January 17, 2014

Consumer help a click away for veterans

AnhTuan Dang
March Legal Office legal intern

Have you ever been stuck and frustrated with a consumer issue and could not find a solution to your issue? The Department of Consumer Affairs recently created a Los Angeles-based division to provide services to military members throughout California. Help from consumer protection experts is now just a click away!

“Servicemembers and their dependents are encouraged to file a complaint with the L.A. County Department of Consumer Affairs to seek assistance in working to resolve their consumer protection issues by visiting their website, http://dca.lacounty.gov,” said Lt. Col. Deric Prescott, 951st Reserve Support Squadron judge advocate, March Air Reserve Base, Calif.

If the military member resides outside of L.A. County, the system will also notify the member’s local District Attorney’s Office.

Some of the remedies the DCA is able to seek for military customers are provided for in the California Military Families Financial Relief Act. For example, the Act allows reservists and guardsmen to defer payment on their mortgages, credit cards, property taxes, car loans and leases. The deferral period is equal to their periods of active duty plus 60 calendar days, or 180 days, whichever is less. No foreclosure or repossession of property, on which payment has been deferred, shall take place during this period. (California Military and Veterans Code 800). Additionally, health insurance companies that were providing coverage to a reservist at the time the reservist was ordered to active duty must reinstate that coverage with no waiting period when the reservist returns from duty (CMVC 804).

For more information on these protections, visit http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov, click on California Law, Military and Veterans Code (MVC) and then Division 4-Veteran’s Aid and Welfare.

While there, you can also find help with other provisions through the California Military Families Financial Relief Act of 2005. Similar to the protections provided through the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act (SCRA), this legislative measure allows you, your spouse or legal dependents to terminate a cell phone contract without penalty, providing specific requirements are met (CMVC 823).

Your spouse or legal dependent may also apply for protection against a utility shut off by notifying the utility company that they’ve suffered a reduction in household income as the result of you being called away to active duty (CMVC 827).

The Act also requires public and private post-secondary schools to provide reasonable accommodations to students who serve in the military and restore them to the educational status they had prior to deployment without the loss of credits earned, scholarships or grants awarded. (CMVC 824).

If your SCRA rights have been violated, the L.A. County DCA team can also help. They specifically prohibit non-judicial foreclosure on mortgages that originated before your military service. You can also request a reduction of your interest rate, to no greater than six percent, on pre-service, credit card debt and most other interest-bearing accounts while in service. Moreover, SCRA permits you to break residential and car leases if you receive orders for a permanent change of station or deployment. With respect to landlord and tenant issues, a landlord must obtain a court order to evict you or your dependent due to nonpayment of rent. The court has the authority to stay (postpone) the eviction if you are able prove that you are materially affected by your military service.

Helping military members process complaints for any violations of these and many more issues is what’s available on the L.A. County DCA website. It contains a list of Self-Help Legal Centers (SHLAC) where you can get information on the process and forms required for small claims courts and learn how to represent yourself in other matters. Each SHLAC is staffed by a trained attorney, experienced professionals and volunteers. Be aware that there is no attorney-client relationship between SHLAC staff and the centers’ patrons. The centers can provide assistance with family law, landlord/tenant, name changes, obtaining a civil restraining order, civil complaints and expungements.

For all the offered programs and services, and the greatest and latest methods to protect yourself and your family, visit the L.A. County DCA website at http://dca.lacounty.gov. You can also call Consumer Affairs at 800-593-8222 for within the L.A. County and 213- 974-1452 if outside L.A. County.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(Official U.S. Air Force photo)

Knowing the facts: National American Indian Heritage Month

(Official U.S. Air Force photo) Maj. Gen. Clarence L. Tinker was the highest ranking officer of Native-American ancestry and the first general lost in action during World War II. November is National American Indian Heritage Mo...
 
 

VA implements second phase of Choice Card Program

Washington, DC – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it began mailing Veterans Choice Cards on Nov. 17 to Veterans currently waiting more than 30-days from their preferred date or the date that is medically determined by their physician for an appointment at a VA facility. “VA continues to focus on implementation...
 
 

Red Cross shares top safety tips for Thanksgiving

Millions of people will travel to spend their Thanksgiving holiday with loved ones and the American Red Cross has steps they can follow to help make sure they have a safe trip. The holiday is also a time when cooks spend a lot of time in the kitchen and there are tips they can use...
 

 

Officials Highlight Health, Wellness Resources for Military Families

WASHINGTON – As efforts continue to strengthen service members and their families, Pentagon officials held a Bloggers Roundtable to highlight the myriad resources available to tackle the unique military and transitional challenges those who serve may face. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy Rosemary Freitas Williams, Marine Corps Sgt. Maj....
 
 
HBI

Tips for getting enough healthy protein in your diet

At a time when over a third of American adults are obese and childhood obesity rates are rising exponentially, more Americans are looking for meat alternatives in their dining choices. In fact, close to 16 million Americans are...
 
 

AF closes FY14 force management programs

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Airmen who met the service’s reduction in force board were notified of the board’s results Nov. 19, bringing the fiscal year 2014 force management programs to an end. The RIF board selected 354 captains and majors across the Air Force for non-retention, half of the number the service previously projected it would...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin