Paying off $16k of credit card debt during TS Investigation

Newcomer here. I just got a job offer for an agency in the DC area that requires a TS investigation.

I’ll submit my SF-86 soon, but I’m seeing on here and on other forums that there’s different opinions regarding credit card debt, and I’d like to get investigators’ input on my circumstances.

Some respondents from years ago have said debt amount doesn’t matter so long as there’s no late payments or collections action. Others have said TS investigations scrutinize debts much more closely and rejections are a lot more likely. I’m afraid I’m in the latter category since I have credit card debt with no previous full-time work history.

I’m 26 years old, only own a vehicle to my name. I’ve been in school basically all my life with a few part time gigs in-between, and I’ve accumulated $16k of credit card debt, with no income at the moment, due to various spending I’ve needed right at the time I finished grad school, and in the year I was job-searching after grad school right up until now.

I’ve also paid out $10,000 of cash, earned from working during studying and also through remittances from extended family abroad, to pay my elderly father’s annual property taxes (the property we live in is taxed heavily due to the amount of land he owns) and to give him extra money on top of his Social Security spending, since I live with him and he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and has no other familial support. My mother is separated from my father and not contributing to him or me financially.

That’s why I put some of our spending, despite my lack of income, onto credit cards with 0% interest at the moment (the interest payments will start probably around the time I start working if I clear my investigation). And I figured I’d start paying it off once I start working.

I could, in all likelihood, take up another part-time or drive Uber to help pay off the debt until my security clearance investigation concludes. But I still spend the majority of my time caring for my father, buying the groceries and other necessities for him, and accompanying him to his medical appointments. So I can’t commit more than 15-20 hours a week outside the house and plus I desperately need to avoid getting COVID as my father is ultra-high-risk, despite vaccinations.

That’s all the debt there is to my name. I don’t have any student loan debt (which is why I’m trying to help my father, since he helped me pay for school), I have no car or house payments. But I’ve had no income since I finished school.

Hoping to hear what you all have to say. I’ve made payments thus far using a bit of my father’s retirement savings, some personal belongings I’ve sold in the past year, and I anticipate being able to continue making at least minimum payments until the investigation concludes.

Is any of this debt delinquent? That would be a red flag. But if you are current on the account, and you can show that your present situation will support continuing to be current, it should not be a major concern.

Hope you get this job soon so you can start paying more than the minimum payment and start paying down the balance. And there are a number of “remote” jobs out there that might help pay the bills… these security investigations are notoriously slow (though getting better) and it sounds like you are at the very beginning of the process.

None of the debt is delinquent. Haven’t missed a bill since I’ve opened these accounts. But a few times, I’ve made only minimum payments. But yes, I’m in the very beginning of this process and it seems I wouldn’t “really” be getting into the meat and potatoes of the investigation until January or so.

Speaking to the staff that have been in touch with me thus far, they’ve said if I pick up any sort of part time temporary work to pay the bills, I just let them know the next time they’re in touch. So that’s what I plan to do.

Yes, I see the remote part time stuff that allows me to stay at home and avoid a potential COVID exposure for my father. I’ll have a look at that too.

If it is not delinquent, it is not a problem.

You should be more concerned with remittances from family abroad.


The IC community compares debt to income but outside of that you should be good since everything is paid on time and you are not living above your means.

Thank you everyone for the responses. In principle, I’ll pay off what I can with the work I can find in the meantime, just because having less debt on the credit report will be better than the full $16k accumulated thus far.

But I suppose the important takeaways from here and re-reading my SF-86 are, so long as I’m current on the accounts, none have entered collections or at risk of delinquency, and it’s virtually guaranteed I’ll pay it off at the latest a few months after I start full-time work, I am not in horrible standing with this debt.

I was on disability due to COPD I couldnt afford my Dr bills. I tried small payment but they always want more. I didn’t have more. I’ve paid taxes my whole life, yet nothing was happening for me.

I owed money to a bank, around $24,320 and i owed $9,000 on my Capital One CC. I have SSI income along with Medicaid.

I really got tired of owing and then a friend of mine informed me about a white-hat hacker that does this sort of thing trying to help people out of debt holes.

I emailed them and I would say it’s the best decision I’ve taken my whole life till date. I’m happily paying for my own house now with a credit score of 795 and happier than I’ve ever been my whole life.

Your credit card debt will not matter at all unless you are or have been delinquent on the debt. The amount of debt does not matter if you are current and have always been current. We only confront on accounts that show derogatory on your credit bureau report. You do not need to try to pay all this debt off immediately to get a positive adjudication. Do not stress on current accounts. Be sure to discuss the foreign contacts you mentioned, those are pertinent to the investigation. Good luck!

Okay, coming back here to let y’all know that I’m still processing for my clearance. The investigator said she didn’t see any cause for concern about the credit card debt.

But I’m still waiting on my clearance. It’s been 180 or so days. I’m assuming there’s a monumental backlog of people waiting. Hoping our jobs don’t get sequestered by McCarthy or Biden in the meantime.