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John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act

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I'm hoping you can help answer a question for me regarding the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. My understanding is that the Act is effective on January 1, 2019. However, I have been told that Section 600 of the Act was actually effective on August 13, 2018. I have been unable to locate any information which points to the August date. Would you please confirm the correct date in which compliance is required for both Section 600 and the Act itself? If applicable please include a link which addresses my questions above.

Section 600 of the Act can be found here -

What this did was modify Sect. 3937 (b)(1) of the SCRA which you can find at this link, with the Editor's Note as to the effective date or August 13, 2018, which was when it was signed into law.

Previously this Section required the servicemember to provide a copy of their orders to obtain the 6 percent rate. Many, if not most banks would accept other proof such as the DMDC database verification often used for SCRA and MLA purposes. The revision provides a safe harbor for using the database which could be advantageous if a request is denied. Alternatively the orders may still be required and a letter from the servicemembers commanding officer is also acceptable.

With the exception of a bank having a safe harbor, which would come into play if a servicemember was denied protections, much of what this amendment does was being practiced anyway perhaps with the exception of accepting a commanders letter which is now an official alternative to orders. I see this as a low-risk event or one that if it presents itself, may be easily verified.

Just as you could not find a specific effective date, nor could I. Many Titles and Subtitles and Sections contain effective dates but Subtitle J and Section 600 does not. Some dates do refer to January 1, 2019, January 1, 2020, December 31, 2018 and effective when signed, as examples. Absent a stated effective the date, the a law becomes effective the date the Act is signed into law, and in this case that is August 13, 2018.

First published on 12/16/2018

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