Suitability vs Clearance

So my understanding now is that there’s a difference between the two. My question is: if I was denied based on SUITABILITY by THE 3 letter agency (w SF-86; TS w poly) and I’m applying for a Public Trust (SF-85P) with the DOE, do I have to say that I was denied a clearance? Technically speaking, I didn’t make it to the clearance process and it’s a different agency, but some agencies combine the suitability and clearance.

You were NOT denied a clearance. They aren’t trying to trip you up with the questions. Just answer them.

Nobody “combines” two. They may run coincident but they are still separate determinations.

I did have the opportunity to appeal. Was denied and told to wait a year. That was three years ago. Does this help clarify?

Suitability means are you as a person suitable for employment with the agency you are applying for? Does your personal traits, character, conduct, etc., meet the standards to uphold the efficiency of an agency’s mission? In example, if you are a former felon applying for a law enforcement agency such as DHS-ICE or DOE-OST, you may be found unsuitable for employment based on a history of unmitigated criminal or other misconduct.

Suitability and clearance are governed under different authority guidelines.Suitability is governed by Code of Federal Regulations (5 CFR 731), and clearance is governed by, among others, E.O. 12968.

I don’t believe that suitability denials are able to be appealed. Are you certain that you weren’t denied a clearance? We have no way of telling for you.