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  • Clearance & Credit Check

    ............
    Last edited by TyGB; 07-14-2017, 10:29 PM.

  • #2
    NON-issue.......Just let the BI know. I had REALLY screwed up credit back in 2005 (have since made things right) and when I was in the process of getting a DOS clearance my Special Interviewer let me know about my credit issues. I promised to clear them up and he said as long as I did I'd get cleared. He went on to say "not to worry, I knew a guy that was 3 Million dollars in debt and he still managed to get cleared somehow". I don't know how that guy's issue was mitigated but it goes to show they look at "the whole person".
    The post above does not constitute legal advice, nor should be construed as such. These are the private opinions of a private citizen and do not represent the opinion nor official capacity of any law enforcement agency.

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    • #3
      Becoming 1811 with Credit Issues/C.C. Settlement

      Originally posted by ops View Post
      NON-issue.......Just let the BI know. I had REALLY screwed up credit back in 2005 (have since made things right) and when I was in the process of getting a DOS clearance my Special Interviewer let me know about my credit issues. I promised to clear them up and he said as long as I did I'd get cleared. He went on to say "not to worry, I knew a guy that was 3 Million dollars in debt and he still managed to get cleared somehow". I don't know how that guy's issue was mitigated but it goes to show they look at "the whole person".
      That's great to know, ops. Thank you.

      I am not personally concerned about the SF-86, as I know I can clear that. I'm more concerned about getting THE JOB due to my credit/debt situation. Here's my situation (I'm wondering if you or someone can confidently give me the same assurances):

      I am a law school graduate with close to $200K in student loans. Due to the job market (and not being able to work while I study for the bar exam), I have been forced to live off my credit for some time, and now I'm almost maxed out with just under $40K on my 2 credit cards. 6 months ago, I had an 800 FICO score. But, after one of my student loan companies mistakenly marked me 90-days late (it should've said 60, as they assured me prior) for one loan that is listed as a few loans (so they can charge extra fees, etc.) my FICO dropped to almost 500. At this point, I want to settle one credit card with 1/2 of my credit card debt and knock it right out while paying the other one in full. My credit score will probably stay around 500 for a while.

      (By the way, I did dispute that mis-reporting, and lost somehow.)

      I'm in the process of applying for a number of 1811 positions. If I get any one of them, I'll be able to handle my debt and pay it off with no problem, but only if I actually get the job. I can explain this as I have here when asked, of course. And I have no inclination to compromise myself or any info.

      Like I said, I'm sure I can get TS clearance. But, can I get a fed job before I take care of this business? I have no other hindrances (criminal record, drugs, bad contacts, etc.). Similarly, am I better to carry the debt through the application process (which could take years), or to settle the card now as I would like, and eliminate $25K in debt? (In order to discuss settlements with the bank, I must first be at least 90 days late in paying, and I'm presently current.)

      Also, an S/A recommended mentioning this in my application. I don't think that's wise, though. Any thoughts on that, too?

      Thank you in advance!!
      Last edited by JD13; 04-15-2009, 02:22 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Just be honest. With the economic downturn it's inevitable that some are going to have late payments and such. Also, they don't check your credit score, only your credit report. You also aren't currently over 180 days late on any payments which is specifically asked about on the SF-86. Anyone with a Law degree is going to be in substantial debt unless Mommy and Daddy silver spoon paid their way. This is factored into the whole person concept and will not be counted against you. Factors that will mitigate concerns of being in debt in your case are:

        * Honesty in reporting the debts on the SF-86.

        * Responsibility in trying to pay them back in a timely manner and having proof of this on hand. IE; debt consolidation, payment plans etc.

        * Your otherwise "clean record".

        I honestly think you won't have any problems in getting a clearance of any level. Don't get wrapped around the axle and omit something that wont be an issue if disclosed but WILL BE if concealed. They're looking for honesty, integrity, loyalty to your country, and qualifications for the job. I've been through 7 BI's by the Fed. Gov. so I have some experience in dealing with these issues. A great site with alot of information on this topic is http://www.clearancejobsblog.com/ The site is ran by current and former OPM Investigators and you can ask questions in anonymity and receive the answer straight from the horses mouth. Or if you prefer you can view other poeple Q & A's and see similar cases to yours and what their answers were.

        Congrats on the job......
        The post above does not constitute legal advice, nor should be construed as such. These are the private opinions of a private citizen and do not represent the opinion nor official capacity of any law enforcement agency.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks again ops. Your input is both useful and comforting (and makes good sense).

          By the way, clearance aside, would you think the same issue(s) will make it difficult to get hired (before clearance is even an issue) as an 1811, or would the answer to that pretty much be the same?

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          • #6
            Ok, now your question is in regards to suitability for the position. Obviously, with your Law degree you are well qualified. MANY people from doctors to 1811's are in substantial debt due to student loans. I see no reason why you wouldn't be suitable for the job. However, I'm not the hiring authority and have no idea what the criteria are. It's my guess that you are well qualified, and that your debt issues (as long as disclosed and responsibly handled) are a non-issue. The SF-86 can be a stressful life event requiring all of the 5 coping strategies :] . However, having gone through this myself numerous times I can say with confidence that my record financially and otherwise is far from pristine comparably and due to my honesty, disclosure, and responsible handling of my issues I was able to mitigate certain concerns. Just be honest, not everyone is a saint! The OPM BI's understand this.... :]
            The post above does not constitute legal advice, nor should be construed as such. These are the private opinions of a private citizen and do not represent the opinion nor official capacity of any law enforcement agency.

            Comment


            • #7
              There is "good" debt and "bad" debt

              Student loans (a form of "installment" debt) are generally low interest with substantially long repayment periods (10 to 30 years). While you may have a high principle ($160K for a private four year undergrad degree is not uncommon), it is something which isn't viewed negatively necessarily on its own.

              Plus student loans were needed to help you to improve yourself as a person and a candidate.

              Things like student loans, (some) mortgages, (some) car loans are considered "good" debt

              Credit card debt (called "revolving" debt) usually carries much higher interest rates and the fact that people at times will be maxed out across several different cards and be delinquent on more than one account is where people run in to issues. Credit card debt frequently becomes for many people "bad debt"

              Someone posted somewhere on this website a link to a list of cases where people had gone for DOD agency background investigations, been denied and their subsequent appeals and the results.

              Many of these people who were initially denied (and often subsequently denied again on appeal) were due to financial issues.

              In adjudicating the appeal, many times the deciding factor for the administrative law judge was not that the person had been in debt or was late on payments, etc.

              It was that they knew they had a problem (debt/delinquency/late payments) and had done nothing about it to fix.

              Theres usually many options available for negotiating with creditors for lower interest rates, more flexible repayment options (graduated payments) or some will even lower your principle amount outright.
              Last edited by a cashew; 04-16-2009, 01:00 PM.

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              • #8
                Thanks again, folks. Your info answers my question and puts me at ease during a stressful time. Much appreciated!!

                Comment

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