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Military Service Members and Mobile Phone Plans

Are you a military service member paying for mobile service under a long-term plan you're unable to use because of an overseas deployment or transfer?

You may not realize that relief options for men and women serving on active duty in the U.S. military - including reservists called to active duty status - are available through the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).

How do I qualify for relief?

Military members who signed long-term cell phone service contracts prior to receiving orders can, under SCRA, suspend or cancel their contracts without penalties or extra fees when deployed for 90 days or longer or when permanently transferred if change of duty results in:

  • An inability to use the service
  • An inability to satisfy the terms of the contract

Additionally, military members deployed overseas for more than 90 days may suspend their contracts at no charge until the end of their deployment without being required to extend the length of the original contract term.

What steps do I need to take?

To exercise your rights under SCRA, you must provide your mobile/wireless telephone service contractors with copies of your military orders. Telephone service contractors must comply with service members' requests to terminate or suspend service under SCRA without imposing an early termination fee or a reactivation fee for suspension of contracts.

If you have questions about whether SCRA applies to you, the Department of Justice's SCRA web page recommends you contact the nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program office. You can use the military legal assistance office locator to find the nearest location and contact information for each branch of the armed forces. Dependents of service members may also contact or visit military legal assistance offices.

View more information from the DOJ on servicemembers' rights.

More about SCRA

SCRA is a federal law that provides protections for military members as they enter active duty. It covers issues such as rental agreements, security deposits, prepaid rent, eviction, installment contracts, credit card interest rates, mortgage interest rates, mortgage foreclosure, civil judicial proceedings, automobile leases, life insurance, health insurance and income tax payments.

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Military Servicemembers and Mobile Phone Plans Guide (pdf)

Updated: November 6, 2015

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