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How your finances factor into security clearance decisions

As a federal employee, the government may revoke or deny your security clearance for several reasons. Personal conduct, having a criminal record, lying on your application are all valid reasons for this. However, one of the most common reasons for revoking or denying a security clearance is delinquent debt. During 2015 alone, the Department of Defense denied hundreds of security clearance applications for financial reasons.

In many of these cases where the security clearance was denied or revoked, the individual had trouble paying their mortgage, had gambling debts, was behind on their student loans or had filed bankruptcy.

What factors does the government consider?

The reasons why a clean financial record is important to the government is, in its opinion, individuals with significant debt problems are more likely to turn to illegal activities as a means to pay their debts. As a result, persons with troubled finances may resort to selling classified or top-secret information to raise money.

However, simply having financial problems does not automatically lead to a revocation or denial of a security clearance, in most cases. When considering granting a security clearance, the government looks at your finances and considers many factors such as:

· How you incurred the debt: Generally, debts like student loans and debts incurred for reasons beyond your control are looked upon more favorably than debts resulting from reckless or impulsive behavior.

· Actions to mitigate the debt: Attempting to address your debt problems by agreeing to a payment plan, attending credit counseling sessions or filing bankruptcy will be looked upon more favorably than avoiding repayment altogether.

· The amount of debt: In general, the more debt that you owe, the more carefully the government will scrutinize your clearance application.

If you have received a Statement of Reasons that your security clearance was revoked or suspended, you face the real possibility of losing your job. Therefore, it is important to take immediate action to protect your interests. The experienced federal employment law attorneys at Passman and Kaplan, PC can work aggressively on your behalf to give you the greatest chance of a positive outcome.

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