Public Trust MBI for Agile BPA

Hello! I’m in the process of undergoing a moderate risk background investigation for a public trust clearance, and I’m somewhat dubious of my chances, given my history.

First, I have existing financial problems:

  1. I owe about $32k in federal student loans, which were about 10 years delinquent until recently. I’m technically not currently delinquent because upon getting notice of the investigation I initiated payments through a new loan servicer, but it’s not all that compelling given that I waited until the notice to set the payments up. That said, the notice means that I’m getting a good paying job, which gives me the means to pay. I have been a stay-at-home dad for the entirety of the delinquency, with part time income only, so I can truthfully say that my income has made paying very difficult.
  2. I owe roughly $15k on two separate credit cards that were recently charged off. I initiated a debt relief program last year for these, withdrew from that program immediately, as I thought bankruptcy might be a better path forward. I consulted with a bankruptcy lawyer over the summer and waffled on what to do basically the whole of 2022. Again, after receiving notice of the MBI, I went ahead an re-enrolled in the program. Payments on it don’t begin until just before my tentative start date.
  3. I hadn’t filed taxes for 2021. I didn’t owe and knew I didn’t owe. I originally delayed because I do some freelance work and I was uncertain about whether I needed a 1099 from a client/employer. I put it off until I got notice that I needed to be tax compliant. I’ve now filed and I’m due a refund.
  4. I also owe $2500 for previous years, which was down from roughly $10k, as I was paying on it monthly from 2018 to early 2022. In early '22, the $235 payments were declined by my bank enough that the IRS stopped trying and cancelled the plan. At that time we owed $4300 and I thought we’d just finish it with refunds from upcoming years. In any case, it was delinquent almost all of 2022, and I’ve now restarted the payment plan.

In addition to the above. I also have a past conduct issue:

In 2000 I received a General Under Honorable Conditions discharge from the Army after about 2 years of service. This wouldn’t usually be an issue, but in this case the reason for early discharge is misconduct. I went absent without leave twice in the span of a year. I was 19, and it’s hard to understand why I’d do such a thing with only a year of service left. I’ve regretted that decision since and marvel all the time at how immature I was.

As a whole, I think all of this looks really bad for me. One could make the argument, given my finances, that I don’t appear to have matured much since my discharge. And there’s certainly merit to that. But as you probably know, that’s not the whole picture. I’ve been happily married for 12 years. We have two wonderful kids. I’ve taken care of them while my wife has worked for all of those 12 years, and it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. During that time, I also taught myself programming and slowly built a resume and skillset that garnered me attention from a major firm. I made it through a rigorous interviewing process to get this job.

My friends and neighbors would tell anyone who asked that I’m a good dad, husband, friend, and neighbor. I pride myself on being those things. I’m a serious person, believe it or not. I take my commitments to family, to friends, to the welfare of those people very seriously. I take my responsibilities seriously. I love my country and take my civic duties seriously. I vote and participate in my community.

My recent debts are the direct result of my wife taking a pay cut to get a promotion, and the culmination of pandemic-related loss of income and over-reliance on cards. I have steadily increased my income over the past several years, but that has been offset by my wife’s loss of income and economic whiplash. That said, it’s pretty clear that there was some mismanagement there, and there’s no denying that.

In any case, I’m curious what this community thinks of my chances. Is it pretty much a foregone conclusion? Should I withdraw from the position to save the time and resources of those involved in my onboarding and allow them time to find an alternate?

I am an investigator and not an adjudicator so all I can do is speculate but it is my understanding that delinquent federal debt is scrutinized pretty heavily as well as failing to file taxes. Waiting to take care of these issues until notification of the investigation does not show responsibility. Obviously financial issues started long before the pandemic if you were a decade delinquent. Also having any type of discharge other than honorable is an issue. Any one issue by itself may not be that bad, but I fear that when viewed all together it is not going to paint a pretty picture of you. Your subject interview is there to collect ALL the information and provide the opportunity to collect any mitigating information that may affect the suitability determination. Without having all the information no one can have a good picture of the whole person as required for adjudication.

Thanks for your response. It sounds like you’re certain it will at the very least be adjudicated. I don’t know very much about this process, but I assume it means I won’t be given the interim MBI, which means, I assume, that I won’t be able to work for the client unless I receive the clearance. Does this sound correct?