Secret clearance and my student loan


#1

I’m being considered for a technical job with a secret clearance. I’m concerned because I’m two months late on my student loan payment. I’m 7 months away from defaulting, so that’s not an issue. My wife has gone through VERY expensive cancer treatments this past year, but the loan people don’t even take that into account. I’m also consulting a student loan attorney about getting my monthly loan amount down. Otherwise, I have no criminal record, good credit, and stable home life. Do you think my loan issue would keep me from getting this clearance?


#2

Understand that the clearance process is going to take longer than seven months, so you are at risk of being in default by the time they are looking at you closely.

The key thing here is that you are doing something about the debt, not just ignoring it. Remember, these are usually government backed loans. If you default, the same government that you want a clearance from is on the hook for the debt. They take student loans very seriously. Get it taken care of ASAP. Restructure it, pay it up to date, borrow from another source to pay it off. Whatever you need to do.


#4

The ibrp (income based repayment plan) is exactly for situations like this. Deferment also. Make sure you do your adminstative remedies before seeking counsel. A little research goes a long way and most importantly… saves money!

Good luck


#5

here is a good article on the subject:
https://news.clearancejobs.com/2016/05/25/student-loans-security-clearance/

One thing you will need to do is be careful when you follow the attorney. The chance is that the attorney is not also a security clearance attorney.


#6

I spoke with the guy in D.C. doing the security, and I was told this particular process will take between one and two months - certainly not seven months like what was suggested elsewhere. Not sure the reason for the time discrepancy; it’s just what they told me. Maybe they’re ramming it through faster or something.

Good news on the student loan front - per a phone call I had with them, I should be able to restructure my student loan repayment amount to something I can at least afford for a few months until the clearance goes through. So my loan will show “up to date” or something like that. One more concern off my plate.

Lastly, I was in and out of the navy once years ago - 21 to be exact. I was only in for seven months, tested positive for pot, and was discharged with OTH. Dumb, dumb, dumb on my part in more ways than one. Young and stupid. And I was NOT a regular drug user; it was a one-time failure to cope with a bad situation. Well, I moved on, went into a new career, got married, had children, and am now living the American dream in the suburbs. I know that for some issues for a Secret Clearance they only go back 10 years - but for discharges, I imagine that they go back to infinity?


#7

They go back to infinity. You will discuss your marijuana use and the “OTH” discharge during a subject interview. To your favor, both of these are a long time ago.


#8

If your OTH and drug use occurred 9+ years ago - they are both a non-issue as long as there has been no recent similar conduct.


#9

Whew - that’s a big load off my mind. A lot can happen in 20+ years, and I was hoping that a mistake made in the navy way back then wouldn’t be counted against me now. I’ll be setting up a new payment plan with my student loan tomorrow, so I think I may be good. No other issues that I can foresee.Thanks.


#11

They aren’t trick questions and possession charge from 7 or more years ago isn’t likely to stop you from getting a Secret much less a public trust.

When you fill out an OF306, answer the questions. Seven years means seven years. Remember, when they pull your criminal record, they get everything. If the charge was 30 years ago, the investigator will see but he will not expect it to be on your OF306.

No . . . Investigations aren’t always in scope. They go out of date just like mayonnaise.

For example, if I have a secret clearance, I need to be reinvested every ten years or so. When I have my next investigation, they will still look at my old SF86 and investigation. Why? Because it gives them a start to the whole process.

You obviously have a chip on your shoulder. I don’t care. It doesn’t affect me in the least. However, I’m going to warn you that this will make it much more difficult to get through the process. The government has processed millions of applicants over the years. They have looked at their failures (those who were approved and later violated the trust) and analyzed those failure to come up with ways to help them prevent future failures. They aren’t going to bend the process to your will. You need to bend to their process and think about what the best actions for you to take are.

Why would you even think that you need to list a charge from 10 years ago a question that asks you to go back 7 years? Because they will see the charge from 10 years ago? So what? If they wanted to know what went on 10 years ago, they would have asked for your answer to go back 10 years. Or they would have made it an “ever” question.