Bipolar and seeking a position as a File Clerk with a Contractor

I had my first diagnosis with Bipolar II depression in 2017. I took meds for several months and was symptom-free until this past July when I was working for a Federal Contractor as a file clerk. Seven months into the job I started experiencing symptoms again (always depression, never manic) but unfortunately quit my job (which was an at-will position) with no notice because I was afraid my symptoms were getting worse and I moved back to my home state and promptly received therapy and the meds that quickly led to my recovery. I see my therapist on a regular basis, my condition is controlled with medication, but I am now back in the job market and want to resume working with another contractor in a similar position. I contacted my former HR dept and former supervisor to explain that I left for medical reasons, and they are unresponsive. I know that my present therapist would agree that my condition is under control and I represent no threat to national security, etc. But I am worried that my past supervisor and HR Dept may give me a bad recommendation. I plan to explain this all on my SF85-P and of course answer all questions truthfully and honesty. Can anyone provide me with advice on how I should handle this going forward? I’ve already been contacted about some positions but don’t want to be disappointed. I have absolutely no other issues except leaving my last job with no notice and my medical condition, which only emerged a couple of years ago?

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You’ll undergo a Tier 2 investigation. File clerk is generally a moderate risk level position, hence, SF85P.

You’re not a threat at all to national security, as file clerks do not have access to national security information.

Are you a risk at the public trust level? We all are. How much of that risk the government wants to take on to employ you determines if you are granted an entry on duty (EOD) or favorable adjudication.

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Thank you for your response. It gives me some hope.

Have no worries about the mental health aspect. I applaud you getting help. Life is much better when we can see all things in balance. We cannot control what a former HR office may say or do. Sadly. I would submit a request in writing to the former HR asking how they characterized your departure. If all they say is " we didn’t get two weeks notice…" So be it. Not required in at At Will state. Send it registered mail and keep a copy of receipt and letter. When filling out future background checks make all of that available to the investigator.

Just because a position describes you as a problem…doesn’t mean you are or were one. The “preponderance of evidence” is what matters. If you were not formally counseled, reprimanded or the like…then they cannot say you were bad.

I encourage you to apply again for cleared positions.

It seems that you will have a harder time with an employer than with you PT. Even in at-will states, employers don’t like to be left in the lurch when an employee leaves without notice. For the most part, your former employer will not knock you very hard because businesses just don’t do that often any more. But, you still have to come clean.

Good luck, I hope you are able to find something that you want.

Thank you for your response. Since I will be disclosing why I left my last position to the BI and he/she will likely interview my medical provider, I am hoping that will help to mitigate concerns as to why I had left my last position, which I really liked.

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During a surprise divorce…I needed help getting through as well. Could not function at work. Took all I had to push my ego to the side and see a doctor. The meds saved my life. 3 months later I was able to taper off and stop. The feelings came back in a rush…but I could handle it. Life is beautiful…

You don’t have anything to worry about, I think. I have schizoaffective disorder, a form of schizophrenia and was granted a secret clearance a few months ago. I’ve had several hospitalizations and take medication. All the lawyers I saught for advice said I would get denied, but I was not. I think if you are completely honest with the government and you are getting help and a medical provider can vouch for you, then all is well. Congrats on the start of the job search and the best of luck.

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Thank you so much for sharing your story. I would like to hear more from others who have been in a similar situation. It’s really uplifting to learn how others succeeded in securing their clearances, and being successful in their government careers as you apparently have, despite their temporary or long-term disability. I was lucky to find the right therapist and medication to bring me back to my old self very quickly, and just praying this one incident of quitting my last job (where I held an interim clearance) won’t derail my whole career. I was given a Schedule A letter by my medical provider and advised to apply through the Selective Placement Program Coordinator at every agency that has one, so I did and most have already responded. If you have any other advice to offer, I would love to hear from you again.

Thanks for sharing that and congratulations. Are you able to disclose which agency you work for? It would be good to know which ones are more open to hiring people with prevous mental health disorders. Also, is your position with a contractor or for a new job with the Federal Government, and if so, did you use Schedule A? Again, congratulations and thanks for your response, which is very encouraging.

All my jobs have been contractor positions. I’ve also applied to a few direct Federal Government jobs and checked off that I had disabilities, but I did not use Schedule A. I just googled it, and it looks like a great idea – I think I might use that in the future. I have a DoD clearance, by as far as where to apply, feel free to apply anywhere you feel led to and where your talents are. Good luck with your job search.

Thanks for replying. I expect the DoD might be more understanding as they may be more accustomed to dealing with vets who suffer from PTSD, etc. I will definitely do some research to see what kinds of DOD contractors might be employing support staff.

I really need some honest feedback here. Back in January I applied for a File Clerk position again and was hired. However, I did not disclose my mental illness on the SF86P that I submitted. I contacted the investigator and decided not to accept the position and the investigation ended. However, now I want to write in the comments section a full disclosure of my illness and come clean with everything on the form as the contractor still wants to hire me. My condition is controlled with medication and my Dr. can give me a glowing report. Do I have a snowball’s chance in getting a Public Trust Clearance? The background check has to be started over from scratch so will they only use the information I provide now, or will they take into consideration that I omitted this information previously. My fear is that by resubmitting a new SF86P now, I might be fined or worse for omitting info about my mental health condition, but it’s only been a few months, I am ready to disclose everything, and I am hoping they will not use the previous info I submitted against me and only base the investigation on the info I am providing right now.

Full disclosure, following the treatment plan, and a glowing report from your provider would have caused you little issue, especially with a public trust investigation (SF85P - there is no such beast as the SF86P)

Lying about the treatment on your recent submission will cause some grief but should not be a major issue. Only answer the question as it reads on the questionnaire. Don’t volunteer information needlessly about mental health.

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Perhaps part of what you deal with led to withholding what you thought was required? Either way, answer the questions as asked, don’t over interpret. Disclose what is asked for only. If the discrepancy presents itself explain. I’ve seen clearances granted for people fired from jobs. But I’ve seen folks not clear by hiding that they were fired. So fill it out, explain the situation.

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