ME, my SF86, the OPM, the IRS and my credit report.

Hi guys,

I’m getting a job within the Army that requires a TS clearance[never had one before, not even a confidential one :slight_smile:] I am currently working on the financial health part of my SF86. I’ve never had any gambling, drinking, illegal drug use issues[Thx to my dad for making me promise when I was 2 y/o]. I’m a US citizen but grew up elsewhere, and did not know that I have to sign up for Selective Service before my 26th birthday.

In 2010, I married my wife and lose my job then became homeless for a few months before we decided to sell our car and bought tickets to Tennessee to work in an Asian restaurant because my college degree from another country was/is pretty useless in the US. I did not know that I have to file taxes until I sat down with an immigration lawyer to help me get my wife a green card. My lawyer was shocked to learn that I have no idea about how and when to file taxes. So, I called the IRS and explained everything to them and then filed the returns even though I did not have the money to pay them yet. I kept filing for taxes, and in 2015 or 2016, when I was ready to get into the monthly payment plan with the IRS, I work decided to terminate me and put me in a tough position. How should I describe all this on my SF86 form? I just signed another agreement with the IRS recently, and have the copy in case the OPM wanna see it.

I have only 2 secured credit cards[using my own funds as credit] $500 each, and one car loan[23,000] which paid on time every month for 4 months now. I have a few negative stuff from many years ago during tough times when I was new to the adult life. I 've been evicted twice, one was 7-8 years ago, and another is in Nov 2012. I had a car repossessed once in Dec 2011 and owed like $3,000. On my credit report, under collections, shows only two items: $212 since Jun 2012, and $12,266 since Jun 2012 but they reported it in 2015. Should I get into the payment plan with them before completing my SF86? I do not know how deep can OPM dig into my past and I do not know if I owe anything else other than these items.

Many thanks in advance :slight_smile:

That’s a pretty significant history you describe. The best thing you can do on the E-QIP is be fully transparent. The form gives you comments sections for each of the items you will list, but don’t write a novel. Be direct and to the point. The investigator you eventually meet will listen to your full explanation and document it.

For taxes, be sure to list the years you didn’t file and how much you owed in those years. Even for years you didn’t file and owed nothing - you still need to include that. If you have an installment agreement with the IRS now for all money owed, make sure you have that at the interview you eventually will have.

For the personal credit issues, answer exactly what the questions ask. If the question asks if you have been evicted in the past 7 years and it was 8 years ago, then you can leave it off. Usually, for delinquent debts greater than 120 days, the clock begins when the account went delinquent. If you still owe money on a delinquent debt that’s 7, 10, or older you still need to list it.

Get a copy of your credit report to make sure you know what you owe and to whom, and then be sure you are listing everything on the SF-86. You’ll also be able to add comments about your repayment status, agreements, settlements, etc. When you prepare for your interview, you should have documentation from every creditor that shows either a $0 balance paid off, or confirms an agreed upon repayment plan.


The fact that you’re a male U.S. citizen and you failed to register for selective service you will likely not be cleared.


Dad made you swear to never use drugs…but nobody, at any time, ever told you about paying taxes, the draft, paying bills on time? Some of that frankly doesn’t need be told for you to know. I predict you will not get cleared on finances alone. You should still register for the draft even if past age 26. This way you registered…and are not subject to the fine. My contract requires all males to register. If a person has not registered I send them to the post office to register. I agree with getting credit report to see what is on there but be warned investigators are getting detailed reports you normally will not have access to. I am seeing people with high credit scores and no mention of delinquent debt…but the investigators have a report showing debts.


Federal law requires eligible US citizen males to register or lose federal benefits, to include eligibility for federal employment. I don’t know if this includes federal contractors - but it doesn’t look good.

The Selective Service registration is verified during the various Tier investigations.


Just a hunch, but you may also need to bring all passports to the subject interview along with financial documentation. If necessary, the investigator will ask for this.

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Thank you guys for all the comment. I’ll try to be upfront with the investigators as much as I can and will bring some document to support my SF86. Is there a way to predict when the investigators gonna show up? I have 10 weeks of basic training and then 20ish weeks of advanced training. The basic training might be very strict about what/when/who/how. :smiley :smiley:

Now, I know that I can get money from my family to pay off all my debt but the money will be coming from overseas. Is that a red flag? If it is, I can just make payment plans and send them money every month til the balances are $0.

If failing to register the SSS is a felony, do I have to include that in my SF86? I think there’s a section asking if there’s an unreported felony, charges, etc.

I didn’t mean to dodge the Selective Service tho, I just never heard of it until my 27th-28th birthday, which is why I’m going active duty and renouncing my other citizenship. :slight_smile: Time to be a good citizen, eh?

I’m taking an additional test next week at MEPS and will see if I could find someone from the Security Office and have a little chat about my past.

Does your recruiter know about all of your issues?

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I was in the Marine Corps, you will fill out more paperwork at MEPS and you wont make it to Boot Camp because you did not register for the SS. You should tell your recruiter immediately about your situation.

From the Selective Service System website:

“A person who volunteered for military service would not deliberately defy a process that might result in military service. Therefore, men who served on full-time active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces should not be denied student financial aid, loans, or grants; vocational training under WIA; government employment; and security clearances, on the basis of their failure to register with Selective Service.”

It sounds like volunteering for the military mitigates much of the issue on it’s own.

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One would think Ed. I too thought the same and did not register as I enlisted at age 17, left for BMT 10 days after graduating high school. For quite a few years I would get letters telling me I did not register. Normally I wrote a “witty” (read: dumb) comment about already serving overseas. As a bit of maturity crept in around the edges…I finally registered, and the letters stopped coming. Bureaucracy being what it is…I felt much better having registered even though I served over 20 years active duty, and an additional 16 in a contract role directing supporting DoD and other agencies. By registering, he can truthfully answer the question of registering and have a registration number. The finance part of the equation may slow things down and prevent a clearance…but he may find this out during basic training. And it can impact whatever career field they were going to put him in.

I may be wrong but I have been working under the assumption that he was already past the age in the requirement which would mean that he had violated the law even if he registers now.

A longer quote from the page I was reading notes that there is no requirement for the military or anyone else to inform Selective Service that you do not need to register because of your active duty service. Perhaps something other than a “witty” response would have stopped the letters.

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Yeah I was being young, dumb, and stupid. Two of those words still apply, and one of those isn’t “young.” Once you pass age 26 the site explains you will not be drafted. I figure if you register, you aren’t telling a lie when you claim it so. We did have a few show up on re-investigation where they had not registered. I explained the law required and they did it and some were in their late 40’s. Nothing became of it because we have not actively had a draft since the 70’s but I think they could make an issue if they chose to use an argument over loyalty to the country.

Yes, he said shouldn’t be a problem since I’m going active. Just need to prepare a statement showing that it wasn’t my intention to dodge, that’s all.

Ya, my only problem is the finance part. I was wondering if it would be easier to go for a position that requires a secret clearance then make my way to TS as I fix my things.

Can a person still register even after 26? I know their online form won’t you you but maybe I can try the paper one. Was there any draft recently?

I send people to the post office to fill out the card. That way you can honestly answer the question you are registered but that is the least of your concerns. The adjudicative standards for Secret and TS are the same. So the finances will likely stop you from both.

Secret and TS investigations will look at the financial and selective service backgrounds very much the same.

in the 1980’s notices were sent to military members that they were in violation of the selective service registration law - most thought entering the military ended the responsibility.

DoD now registers candidates when they contact recruiters (if 18), go to a service academy or enter ROTC.

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I used to ignore the notices while on Active Duty thinking as a young, dumb and stupid military person that what could they do shave my head and send me overseas? But as maturity kicked in and a smidge of wisdom…I registered and that was the end of it.