TEANECK, NJ - In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ) joined active and veteran members of the Armed Forces at the Teaneck Armory to announce legislation that would help protect servicemembers from financial ruin due to negative credit reporting as a result of missed bill payments while deployed.
"I'm introducing the Credit Reporting Act for Military Families so that no returning veteran has the experience of coming home and being denied credit to buy a house or a car because-while risking their life-their credit score went down," said Sen. Menendez. "In New Jersey, where prospective employers can review your credit as part of a background check for hiring, that negative rating could cost a returning vet a job. Think about it. They dodge bullets and shrapnel, only to return from the battlefield to engage in an endless fight with creditors."
"On this 70th Anniversary of D-Day we remember the sacrifice so many made to defend our nation, and the commitment we as Americans made to veterans when they return," said Sen. Booker. "That is why I stand here today with Sen. Menendez and fight for those who protect us by taking steps to protect the credit of our brave men and women who serve our nation. I am also proud to be an original co-sponsor of comprehensive legislation that will increase the accountability of the VA and provide the VA with the resources needed to immediately improve its capacity to address the healthcare concerns of our nations Veterans."
The Credit Reporting Act for Military Families will strengthen the Fair Credit Reporting Act by providing military personnel the opportunity to ensure their credit reports provide full and accurate information to potential creditors. It allows deployed service personnel to notify credit reporting agencies of a military deployment and how to contact them. It authorizes reporting agencies to contact deployed servicemembers when an adverse action is posted on their credit report-such as a missed payment-before it goes to a collection agency. It will also be disclosed on the servicemember's credit report that the adverse action occurred during deployment.
The Menendez-authored and Booker-sponsored legislation allows credit reports to more accurately reflect a veteran's full picture when they apply for future mortgages, loans, lines of credit and jobs. Many servicemen and women have trouble receiving loan approvals because of late payment indicators on their credit reports. Missed payments are one of the Top 5 reasons military families go into debt, and delinquent indebtedness is the number one reason the Department of Defense denies or revokes security clearances for servicemembers.
"This is exactly the type of leadership our veterans and their families deserve," said G.I. Go Fund Executive Director Jack Fanous. "Our men and women in uniform have been hungry for America to take notice of the challenges they face as a result of a decade of war. Whether it be the crushing burdens of financial debt that accumulate while they are deployed, or the difficulty of finding employment when they return home, or the inability to access quality health care without traveling hundreds of miles and standing in long lines, our veterans suffer from many issues that the American public is just now becoming aware of. I applaud New Jersey's Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker on their leadership today; they have been incredible advocates and friends to our military and their families and I am so thankful for their continued leadership."
The Senators were joined by New Jersey veterans and representatives from the State Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and G.I. Go Fund. The bill is also endorsed by the Consumers Federation of America and the National Consumer Law Center. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is also an original sponsor of the Credit Reporting Act for Military Families.
October 16, 2020