Top Secret Clearance and Collections

My name’s Dakota. While I was in college, my grandfather experienced serious financial trouble during the economic downturn and had to close our family business. My mother was thus unemployed during my sophmore year and my father is disabled. During this time I had to have my appendix removed. I got charged with a huge bill for $17,000 which then went to collections. I was unaware of all this, and my mother kept it from me, until I discovered it on a recent soft-pull credit report.

I want to enlist as a 17C with the Army which requires a Top Secret Clearance. I also have a few smaller items that I take full responsibility for. A credit account with Wells Fargo for $800 which I used to pay tuition, but I haven’t found the chance to make payments on, and a phone bill for $300, and an apartment payment for $1200 (this is in collections unfortunately). If I pay this off before applying, will the risk be mitigated?

If you pay it off before applying then I think that would go a long way to mitigate the concern. Of course keep records of all your actions.

What the heck is 17C? Is that one of them thar newfangled Cyber MOSs?

Contact the creditors and make some sort of payment plan. Some may be willing to settle for less than the full amount if you can pay it right away. Even small payments that might take years to pay off is better than no payment at all. Concentrate on the smaller bills, make bigger payments on those and smaller payments on the larger accounts. This will pay the small accounts off and allow you to then apply more money to the larger accounts each month.

Go for credit counseling NOW . . . Even if you don’t think that you need it, you will learn something and it shows that you are working to improve. They may also have suggestions on how to work with the creditors to get these off of your account.