So . . . Is this typical?


I have been offered a position with a DoD contractor that requires clearance. My prospective employer filed my SF-86 July 1, 2016.

My employer is in Maryland but I live in New Jersey and I will be billeted here. So DSS sent my file to an investigator in MD. It sat on a desk (Yes, I was told that!) until December when they realized that the investigation should go to NJ. They called me to verify my work location and told me this.

I heard from the OPM investigator at the end of January and met with her in February. She told me that she filed her report on March 1, 2017.

The first week in July, my prospective employer receives a package for me from DSS and forwards it to my home. The package contains an SOR with ten items under Guideline F (Financial Issues).

Of the ten, six were small medical bills that had ended up in collection. I had already paid one last fall (and provided the OPM investigator with documentation). The other five were more recent and the result of some visits that were not covered by insurance although I thought that they had been. I had already paid those as well.

The six amounted to less that $550! All have been paid and all have been removed from my credit report.

The remaining four items are actually more serious issues but, largely, revolve around the fact that I have been underemployed since I lost my job last year.

I just mailed a 25 page response, including documentation, explanations of each issue and a history of a serious illness suffered by my wife which has affected our finances.

How long should I plan on this process taking? I’ve already seen my file sit on a desk for months? Every step has taken months!

BTW: I previously held the same clearance from 2005 through 2014 when it was revoked because I had not been in a position requiring clearance since the end of 2012.

Why is this process so broken and what can we do to fix it?


It may seem like a long time for you, but your case is by no means unique. Additionally, it seems you did not take proactive measures in providing the information necessary that would have addressed the issues in order to avoid getting an SOR and adding time to the process. You also did not indicate whether or not you disclosed the delinquent debts you knew about on the SF-86. Your response should have focused only on the issues and how to mitigate the concerns. Hopefully you did that.


Marko - I have a question - In the SOR if it brings up the section for finances and that’s it, does that mean they are not bringing up the fact that things were withheld from the SF86? Is this brought up as a seperate point in the SOR or is the applicant supposed to address this if it was withheld from intitial SF86? Thank you.


By the way . . . That was a $100 debt . . .


Actually . . . I DID report everything that was current (and spoke to what I believed the resolution would be) on my SF-86. I was 100% honest and provided extensive descriptions the issue, the current status and the solution that I was working on. Then, when the investigator contacted me for an interview, I produced the same information plus as much written documentation as I could gather. At that time, I pointed out that the medical debt, which I had been unaware of, was paid months before the interview and even provided my bank statement showing the payment. That debt is one of the items still on my SOR!

So . . . The debt was incurred in 2010. In July 2016 I discovered the debt while putting together my SF-86 and noted that my plan was to research the validity of the debt and pay it if proved valid. I paid the debt on November 1, 2016 and provided that documentation to the investigator in Jan/Feb 2017. The debt had been removed from my credit report in December 2016.

Then, in July of 2017, my SOR arrives and STILL lists this debt? Can you tell me where I could have done that differently?


EDFarmerIII - Let me know when you hear any news, I will do the same. Looks like we submitted an SOR around the same time.


Yes, financial issues and not disclosing them are two separate issues and should be listed as such on an SOR.


Sounds like you provided the answer needed to mitigate the financial issues. It also sounds like the initial adjudicator didn’t have all of the information you stated available, otherwise there would have been no need for an SOR. Agreed, the process for DoD is a quagmire, nothing you can do except wait it out and hopefully get cleared soon.


That was just ONE thing on the SOR . . . My wife and I have had some financial problems since I have now been grossly underemployed for over a year. Of course, we wouldn’t be in the financial straights that we are had the adjudication process not dragged out this long. I was only out of work for two months before finding this position but I here I remain 13 months later.

This is very clearly a broken process that needs to be fixed. I’m a skilled engineer with two companies interested in hiring me for the last year yet I remain here . . .


I am in a similar boat… I was laid off 4 months ago and waiting for this to be cleared. I did start my SF86 15 months ago ( I knew the company I work for is in a shitty situation) … i am now under the unemployment benefit. Will that be a reason for SOR? My husband still has his job so we are doing ok. We did not borrow money nor late on payment .


One item I do not see mentioned, so I’ll mention it, is that a great many of us are victims of the (so called) Affordable Care Act. Ever since it was passed I’ve had several challenges with medical bills and paying them in a timely manner. Now it appears to spill over into our professional lives and makes us all appear financially irresponsible. So now the government blames us for the problem they created? God help us!


That was exactly the problem with mine. The six collections were the result of just a few visits over a one month period. In the past, they would have collected from the next time that I was in the office without any question.

I don’t know if these changes are a direct result of the ACA or not . . .



I just heard from my prospective employer. They received a package today and I will have it tomorrow. I hope that it’s reasonably good news.

As I pointed out, six of the ten items were small medical bills but the other four are more serious issues. None of them would have been problems had my clearance been processed in six months but what am I going to do.

I really want this job. It’s practically right around the corner and pays better than other work that I am considering.

I can flip the package provide my response pretty quickly but I already know that it will likely be months before the final adjudication.


That is good news in a way because at least you know they are working on your file and its not off in La La land. If you adequately address each issue with payment arrangments or a good plan to payoff you have a good chance to mitigate the concerns. My clearance was granted 4 weeks after I submitted my response.



A little advice if you think you can provide some: The worst item on my SOR is the fact that our personal residence is in foreclosure. We are working with an attorney and the bank to retain the house.

This job will go a long way towards helping us retain the house and, as noted elsewhere, if my clearance had been processed in six or eight months, we never would have reached this point anyway.

In my first response, I noted the history of the problem with dates and pretty good documentation. At that time, we had not retained an attorney but we did expect to keep the property and catch up on the mortgage.

Can you give me any advice on how to address this? Would a letter from my attorney explaining the current status and verifying our expectations?





Congratulations! Four weeks after your first response? Or, your second?

I sent close to 30 pages of documentation with my FIRST response based on the fact that the letter with it said that it “may allow adjudication without the need for further procedures”.

I assume that what is coming tomorrow is NOT an approval!



Ed, anything that shows you are actively working to resolve delinquent debts will help. I letter from your attorney, communications with the lender, payment agreements, etc…


Hello Ed, four weeks after my first response, I got lucky. But don’t consider me too lucky, the original position which started the clearance is gone. The company has not offered anything else. I applied for other companies, got two other offers, which require a DOS clearance. I just waited two years for a DOD clearance. So now I literally filled out Eqip today to start DOS clearance, back to square one. If you already submitted your first response, this incoming package is probably the FORM , file of relevant material. Where you will get time to gather up even more evidence in your favor. Best of luck.


Thank you, Marco . . . .


UPDATE: I received my FORM yesterday afternoon. It’s interesting that department council’s argument is pretty short and pretty weak. Not a strenuous defense of his position.

I’m reading through Directive 5220.6 . . . As I remember, the descision is supposed to be made on the basis of “the whole person” but I can’t locate the reference. Can anyone help me out? Or, am I mistaken?

Thank . . .