Passing Public Trust vs. Top Secret Security Clearance


#1

Another one here about if I can pass a clearance. I've applied to two government contract positions, one requiring top secret clearance and one stating that it's a public trust clearance position (and stating nothing else), whatever that means (high, moderate, etc.). I hear loud and clear not to lie or omit anything, so I don't plan on doing that. But I do have a couple of background issues that I'm wondering if they'll disqualify me. First, I have Major Depressive Disorder. It's pretty severe. I've been hospitalized twice and the most recent time was a little over a year ago (though the time before was 2009). I should mention that both hospitalizations were voluntary. It has interfered with my work. I've quit three jobs as a result within the course of the last few years, though postpartum contributed a lot. However, I did manage 6 years of grad school (PhD) with only a semester break. At my current job, I have had to use up all my sick time and most of my vacation time. But my performance itself has never been affected. That is, I do high quality work. My condition is largely under control as I have been on medication since 2009 without stop and have had consistent therapy as well. Both my psychiatrist and therapist would say that things are stable. The reason I was hospitalized recently was because of a switch in medications being required, and me being in specific circumstances that no longer exist (unemployed, job searching for a year and a half, financial stress). I know that clearance can be hindered by mental health issues because they worry about untrustworthy people. Do you think this will be a problem given my condition and my background? I know depression is not something they often view as making a person untrustworthy, compared to other conditions, so I'm just wondering.

That is not the only issue, unfortunately. Another issue is that due to my condition, I was arrested for disorderly conduct in 2009 a few days after being released from the hospital. My psychiatrist said that I had behavioral disinhibition due to the medications they put me on, a rare side effect, and that it was entirely out of character. She wrote a note to the court. I ended up paying a fine, but it does show up in a background check. I know because I currently work for my county's government. So, I worry about this as well. Will this be an issue?

And yes, I have a third problem. Due to a year and a half without employment, during which I was job searching, I was unable to pay all of my bills. So I chose to go into collection for a credit card for 18k. Most of my debt was racked up during graduate school. However, since getting my current job, I have paid off 3 credit cards, am working on a fourth, and plan to address the collection as soon as I get those out of the way. I have not seen a financial counselor or contacted the collectors to setup any payment plans, so will this be an issue?

On another note, could you tell me how long it takes before they do the clearance? In other words, will I start working while they are doing my clearance? I'm worried because my family and I would have to relocate if I got these jobs, to a place where there wouldn't be other opportunities for me, and if I started working there and then got let go because of being unable to obtain the clearance (which I would only find out after starting work), I would be in big trouble.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and offer your feedback!