Anyone in a national security position knows that there are many issues that could result in either not obtaining clearance or having your security clearance revoked. Revocation of a security clearance that is necessary for your employment would result in a loss of that employment, which could be disastrous for your future.
Financial issues are among the most common problems that result in security clearance revocation. It is important to understand some of the details around financial issues and security clearance, so you can protect your career.
What financial issues are explored?
The questionnaire for a security clearance position is a lengthy, imposing document. The financial component is one of the longest, most thoroughly treated sections in the questionnaire (section 26, starting on page 117 of the document).
The issues explored in this questionnaire include:
- Filing for bankruptcy
- Struggling with financial problems due to gambling
- Failing to pay taxes
- Experiencing problems with travel expenses or credit card issues by your employer
- Receiving credit counseling or assistance for financial problems
- Being delinquent on child support or alimony payments
- Receiving a legal judgment for a loan as the primary signer or co-signer
- Having a lien placed on your property
- Being delinquent on any federal debt
- Having property repossessed or foreclosed upon
- Having your wages garnished
- Defaulting on a loan
- Having debts turned over to a collection agency
- Having a credit card suspended or cancelled due to failure to pay
- Being evicted for non-payment
- Being delinquent more than 120 days on any debt
These questions from the document represent the issues that could result in not obtaining your security clearance or having your clearance revoked.
What is the best way to avoid revocation?
Although it should come as no surprise, the best way to avoid losing your security clearance due to financial problems is to avoid financial problems in the first place. Avoiding gambling debts, late payments and other financial problems will present a clean record to the decision makers involved.
However, there are times when financial problems cannot be avoided. When this happens, the most important thing is early intervention. Talk with a military lawyer right away to discuss how you can right your financial ship before the problem gains too much visibility. For example, falling behind on one house payment is not nearly as bad as being foreclosed upon. Handle the situation as fast as possible. A minor problem that is quickly resolved will be much less likely to result in clearance revocation than a major problem that has persisted over a lengthy period of time.