Banking and Finance Law Daily Warren, Bustos urge carmakers to implement leasing relief for military spouses
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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Warren, Bustos urge carmakers to implement leasing relief for military spouses

By Nicole D. Prysby, J.D.

Lawmakers urged General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler to immediately implement car leasing relief provisions that allow military spouses to terminate auto leases early without penalty, after the death or catastrophic injury of a servicemember.

On Jan. 27, 2020, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill) announced that they sent a letter to the three largest carmakers operating in the U.S., urging them to immediately implement the car leasing relief provisions for military spouses secured in the recently enacted Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The letter, written to executives at General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler, urges the automakers to implement the provisions, which are based on the bipartisan Gold Star Spouses and Spouses of Injured Servicemembers Leasing Relief Expansion Act introduced by Warren in April 2019. The leasing relief provisions allow the spouse of a servicemember who died while in military service to terminate a car lease one year from the date of the servicemember's death. In addition, the provisions allow the spouse of a servicemember who sustained a catastrophic injury or illness to terminate a car lease one year from the date of the catastrophic event.

The lawmakers explain in the letter that when military families have entered into an auto lease, if a servicemember dies or sustains a catastrophic injury, his or her spouse may be forced to pay off the remainder of that lease or face a penalty for breaking the agreement. Section 545 of the FY 2020 NDAA expands financial protections for military families by allowing the spouse of a servicemember who died while in military service to terminate a car lease one year from the date of the servicemember's death, as long as that servicemember died while in military service or while performing full-time National Guard duty, active Guard and Reserve duty, or inactive-duty training. In addition, these provisions allow the spouse of a servicemember who sustained a catastrophic injury or illness to terminate a car lease one year from the date of the catastrophic event, as long as that servicemember sustained the injury or illness while in military service or while performing full-time National Guard duty, active Guard and Reserve duty, or inactive-duty training. In their letter, Warren and Bustos acknowledged a program established by Toyota prior to the NDAA's enactment that waives outstanding car lease payments for military customers who die or are catastrophically injured in the line of duty.

Companies: Fiat Chrysler; Ford; General Motors; Toyota

MainStory: TopStory SCRA

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