Domestic Violence, Debt Easy Path to Security Clearance Denial

I worked my way through Guideline F issues last year. Look at the mitigating circumstances and write up your story for each item on the SOR or FORM, which ever you are dealing with. You need to show the cause of each issue, show that they were basically one time issues (or that several things snowballed to cause your problems.) Provide as much explanation and documentation as you can.

The government, in their response, will try to show that the issue listed represent a pattern of failure to pay bills and meet your obligations. But, if you show that, for example, two periods of unemployment in three years caused you to fall behind on your mortgage and THAT caused you to miss reasonable credit card or car payments, but that you were working with the bank on your mortgage and trying to negotiate on the car loan, it shows that you were doing your best to be responsible. But, things simply got beyond your control.

I would be happy to help you prepare a response (yes . . . I enjoy this sort of thing) but understand that I am NOT OFFERING ANY TYPE OF LEGAL ADIVCE OR REPRESENTATION.

If you are reasonably bright, you should be able to locate me on some social media platform and reach out.

I got a debt consolidation going on my current account I have with. Now I’m making payments on it again. Will this have an effect on my security clearance since there was a lapse on payment of a couple of weeks.

Would you say that a Chapter 7 or 11 filing would prevent the award of a clearance, or the continuation of an existing one?

No . . . I would say no such thing . . . It’s a matter of researching the mitigating factors to how you got in trouble and what you have done since.

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Bankruptcy is a legal way to deal with debt problems. As long as you don’t have a history of financial issues, you’ll be fine.

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Thanks much for the response. As a career-long (30 years plus) clearance holder, it was pretty devastating to wind up in such financial straits, particularly knowing that finances are the easiest route to losing your clearance. We had multiple periods of unemployment, and a catastrophic medical illness (my wife) that more or less ruined us financially. So, here we are, credit so bad I’d be lucky to get a loan for lunch, and seriously considering CH 11. It’s truly a life-changing experience, and not for the better.

But, we all have stories, I suppose. You either get back on the horse, or you give up. But I’m not ready to give up.

I’ve personally seen individuals with multiple bankruptcies and loads of debt with high interest get cleared…

Your words are very encouraging, thanks very much. There is hardly a worse scenario I can imagine than losing clearance, in an industry which demands it. It would be completely devastating.

@dave019 and @EdFarmerIII pretty much say it all…

Adjudicators acknowledge that we have debts. They are more interested in how we manage our debts. They, in my opinion, are particularly interested in delinquent debts or debts that are with collection agencies. Bankruptcy is not necessarily a bad thing. As Dave mentioned, it is totally legal way to deal with it… so you will be fine.

Also… I believe that this is reportable to your security manager. I am not too sure, but I will let others to chime in on this.

Either way, be proactive in taking care of this. As long you are taking care of this, I am confident that you’ll be fine.

We’re working with all of our creditors, and in some cases we were very fortunate (mortgage lender allowed us to realign the loan, so we kept the house), in other cases, we’re just having to work with the creditors one at a time. Overall, it’s a real mess, but we’re working through it, slowly. It’ll be some time before we’re completely out of the woods, but we’ll get there.

@Marko @dave019
I am going thru the hiring process with Bureau of Prisons. I sent in my EQIP (85p/MRPT) with 2 (dismissed) expunged misdemeanor charges on it. My HR person says the investigator who reviewed my EQIP is asking for a statement or document from the court showing the charges were expunged. I contacted the court and they tell me my state is not an open records state. That all info of the cases have been removed out of the system. All that is in the system is the case number. There is however a paper copy of the court files that are kept in storage and are “sealed”. For me to get a copy of that for my investigator to clear me, I would have to file a motion with a judge to have the case " opened" to go back in and get copies of the information. Its a complete run around. Not to mention my state has postponed all hearings for 4 weeks due to corona. My HR person told me maybe the investigator would accept a certified background check thru my state police records division that would show the charges as non existent and in fact expunged. My questions are:
1.) Why would I have to do that when any background check ran on me…state, federal, NCIC or whatever all do not show the charges. They are non existent because they were expunged. Why am I being asked to do a background records check when that is what the NCIC and suitability investigation is for?
2.) Why am I being asked to prove a charge is expunged by a court or police when a records check proves that it was expunged and wiped from my record.
3.) It almost seems like i woulda been better off not even disclosing it because an investigator wouldn’t have even known about the charge if I hadn’t listed it. During the investigation, what kind of access do investigators have to court records of expunged charges? Like…how do they get details surrounding the case when I can’t even get info on it without filing motions to reopen the case and get to the paper files. In essence, how do investigators get info on a case or charge that essentially “doesn’t exist” (if its expunged properly as I know not all states do)?

Thanks for any help. I need it…

The reason they are asking for it up front prior to initiating a background investigation is because if the charges were not actually expunged they would be disqualifying and it would be a waste of time to hire you. You should have gotten copies of the orders from the court at the time the charges were expunged and put those orders in a safe place. It is not the agencies responsibility to prove the charges were expunged, it is yours since you were the one who disclosed the information. Yes, the background investigation process will ferret out the information, but like I said, they don’t want to waste time in the event the information is not true. Also, keep in mind, regardless of charges getting expunged, a criminal history check will most likely reflect the arrests and may have the disposition as well.

@Marko Ok I’m confused. If the charges were not expunged it would be a disqualifier thus a waste of time to hire me? First off, the charges were initially dismissed. I later decided to have them expunged. Since when does a dismissed misdemeanor charge need to be expunged to qualify me for a suitability for public trust? I thought it was enough that the charge was dismissed? Now they should be expunged (wiped off my record) and I should have proof of it? Secondly, my state (and all states are differently with this) does not send out notices that an expungement processed, their procedure is just to mail out a current background/records check showing that the charge is no longer on your record. So I have nothing but that to show proof of an expungement. All I have is a paper with the scheduled date to have it expunged. My state is not an open records state. I can’t obtain any Info on expungement because in theory, they are wiped and sealed. To get access to them you have to file a motion and reason to unseal them. That rarely rarely happens.

By saying “expunged” are you meaning “dismissed?”

@Marko Tomorrow i will be obtaining a current criminal history records check from my state police records division. That will not show the charges on it and prove in essence that they were expunged. I also found so old documentation providing that the charges were dismissed. So I can show dismissed from older dovuments and then the currrent criminal records check/court records check will provide that they were expunged from record because they will not be on there. I’m confused on your meaning of dismissed/expunged.

You are the one who stated they were dismissed/expunged in your original post…there is a difference, look it up! State criminal checks are not the same as a federal background investigation which includes a FBI criminal history check. I advise you just ask the POC who is requesting this stuff and provide what they need.

@Marko I can provide older documentation showing that the charges were dismissed. But as far as a document showing the charges were expunged I do not have that. Or access to it due to my court saying it is sealed and unaccessible without jumping thru legal hoops. Do state criminal records not report to the FBI to produce a rap sheet? When I expunged the charges, it wiped out my criminal history records with the state police as well. So I’m not sure what would still exist. I know information isn’t always removed from the FBI. Unless its processed correctly by the state.

I listed the charges on my EQIP as dropped/dismissed and later expunged. The request from my POC was a court document or statement to show the charges were expunged. My courts are telling me they cannot do that without motioning to reopen and unseal the information of the case.

Most likely you have nothing to worry about, and you won’t find a definitive answer here. Just follow the process.

Marko, I’ve spent hours reading your posts and advice. Can you please take a moment to review my situation?