SF86 fill out myself or let the recruiter?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

I’m in the process of getting my paperwork ready to enlist in the Army for Special Forces.

I am prior enlisted, and had a secret clearance previously. (Although I was 18 at the time of the previous investigation and am now 29 so I’ve lived a little more)

I have been as thorough as I can to this point gathering information to set myself up for success in obtaining a clearance. To my understanding the most important part of filling out the form is to be as detailed with descriptions/dates as well as just being honest.

I am going to pull a background check, my motor vehicle report and credit report to help keep everything accurate and detailed.

Is there anything else anyone can suggest so that I leave no stone unturned and cover all the bases?

I’ve never been arrested, no alcohol or drug issues, just minor traffic tickets. Although I was involved in a business around 2015 that went down hill (I received no income that year) so I have accrued some charge off accounts and 3 collection accounts Less than $3500. Because I am enlisting again I understand that the investigator is going to want to know why those accounts haven’t been brought current and to be honest I was going to let them fall off my credit report after 7 years. Now however I understand how it can call into question my character so I will take care of them.

My biggest concern is signing the 5 year contract and later getting denied and forced to re-class to a different job.

Any information would be greatly appreciated!

You’ll be fine. Just be honest and disclose everything.

NEVER NEVER let a Recruiter fill out your 86!-


This 100%. Not that all are horrible, but they have a tendency to neglect to fill them out correctly. It’s never fun for the subject and it’s not fun for the investigator. When possible, always fill out your own sec form.


Filling out your own forms is essentially a pre-employment check: Is this applicant smart enough to read and understand instructions provided on the form and able to respond accordingly with few errors? How accurately and when (timeliness) you fill out your forms says a lot about you as a person and how serious of an applicant you are.

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There are loads of stories about recruiters neglecting to include disqualifying info. So I would always want to fill out my own SF86. Though FICO isn’t used to evaluate you, has the FICO improved to higher than 650? They may still want you to reconcile the debts. Unless of course they were attached to an LLC and you are not legally required to pay. They do a deep dive on credit and see things even the three credit places dont’ include. If your traffic infractions were over $300 you need speak to those otherwise not reportable.

Personally, I’d rather complete the forms myself and I’m going to be much more detailed than a recruiter will. Especially with the experience you have. One piece of advice: The Charge off and collection accounts could present a problem. The CAF looks at Charge offs as money you still owe. During the adjudication process the CAF will more than likely issue a Supplemental Information Request (SIR) requesting: Efforts to repay the debt and proof of payment to date. They’ll also more than likely ask for a statement explaining how the accounts became delinquent. The easiest way to get this favorably adjudicated is to contact the agency holding the debt and enter into/obtain a written agreement. For charge off’s collection agencies typically buy a loan/account for pennies on the dollar and the original loan is simply written off. You can and should try to negotiate with the creditors on charge offs. For example: If you owe 1,000 and it’s charged off, you could negotiate it down to say $400, pay negotiated amount and the account is marked paid in full. GET IT IN WRITING. Collections is different, they typically want all of it. But you can contact them and come to an agreement on how much you will pay. With these written agreements, and proof of payment the CAF will usually favorably adjudicate. Finally, write a statement to the DoD CAF in the following format: Paragraph 1 - Who you are, what your job is/will be, why you joined the service and future goals. Paragraph 2: What is the security concern (financial) what led to the security concern. This is your opportunity to tell your side of the story. Paragraph 3: Explain how you are trying to mitigate. i.e. entered into agreements and began to pay. The goal is to tell your story, explain how to mitigate, and then back up your statement with proof. I would do this prior to completing the EQUIP and upload it directly. When the investigator/adjudicator gets it, there will be no reason for them to ask for more information and will lead to a quicker favorable adjudication.

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My 4 cents - be detailed for residences and job locations. Make sure the dates/locations match up. If I had a nickle for every veteran/military person that lists on the eQIP that they live in (nice warm stateside residence) while working in Iraq or going to school in residence (few seem to know you can report the education as on-line --it is in the drop down box) in Maryland while living in Florida — I would be retired.

Also, stay within the lines – if the form asks about any information in the last seven years – that means seven years from the day you sign the form – even if you cleared up that delinquent debt 6 years, 11 months and 19 days ago. Seven years and one day ---- don’t list it.