I was just offered a job I'm very excited about. I've been searching for a job like this for almost 2 years and finally got my big break. I need a Secret Clearance. However, I have a fine from the MVA that's going to be sent to collection. I got to it too late and there's not much I can do about it. But I plan on starting a payment plan with the collection service. I'm not sure how it all works. But I know they investigate debts owed and may not grant me the Clearance. I didn't tell them about it in the interview because it was not a problem until now. My question is, is this a big issue? I have no other debts. I pay my loan on time. I'm worried sick I won't get the Clearance. If I somehow pay it off before I send in the application for the Clearance, will it matter? I'm not sure if I should let my employer know. Or if it's not a big deal. Please lend me any advice!
Some questions the investigator might ask (and you don't need to answer now, just be prepared to discuss should it come up):
-- Why did you get to it too late?
-- Why didn't you mention it in the interview?
-- Why did you only start worrying about this after you found out you'd need a clearance (that's kinda what it seems like)?
-- Have you already starting paying? When do you plan to have it paid off?
-- What was the fine for?
I seem to recall they don't care about fines under a certain amount, but I can't recall what that number is. If you already had the interview, maybe they already did the checks. But still you need to get on this right away.
(my two cents)
sbusquirrel is absolutely right - you need to get on this right away. The questions on the eQIP/SF86 are twofold. In Section 22, Police Record, the question states that you can exclude listing traffic offenses for which you were fined less than $300. However, Section 26, Financial Record, the question states in the past 7 years, have you had any debts turned over to collection. This is regardless of the amount. If you answer yes to this question, and you should, there is room for you to give an explanation of what you have done to satisfy the debt. Entering into a repayment plan is the best plan unless you can pay it off. Good luck.
Under $350, if not a misdemeanor is not reportable, but I always recommend it to demonstrate candor. If it was characterized as a misdemeanor, report it. Contact your investigator to notify them you discovered a fine you were unaware of...AFTER you get into a payment plan. You will notice on the financial questions if you must answer yes to any of the questions, on the next page you must itemize it and describe the payment plan. Not the intent to get one as I often see. Get into a payment plan. I have seen SF86's with several payment plans and they still cleared. What is the overall trend of your finances? If you show only a slight ding with one fine I see no issue. If you have an overall FICO of 500 and a missed fine I think you are going to have a problem.