TS and non-delinquent Debt

I’ve been lurking on these pages for two years, lol. Thanks to the information I read here, the clearance process was less daunting and I have a Secret clearance. Now, I’ve been offered a position that requires a TS (OARM)…well, the posting said High Risk Public Trust, but I later learned that it’s TS. Filled out an SF86. My question is in regard to debt. During the financial crisis between 2009-2011, I had a delinquent debt issue–charge offs, collections–and tax lien. Everything was paid and reflects on my credit report as such. Tax lien was released and withdrawn. Two years ago, had proof of everything…favorable adjudication.

Fast forward to today… I haven’t had any delinquencies since the last process; however, I’ve since purchased a house, have credit cards and a new car. My house, needed substantial (surprise!) repairs right after purchase, and as a result, my credit cards are pretty maxed out. There are no late payments and I’ve been slowly paying things off, a little at a time, a la Dave Ramsey method.

I have no other issues, at all…and yet, I’m freaking out and anxious about this clearance. The only thing they’ve asked for, since I’ve submitted the SF86, is proof of the lien withdrawal and release.

Am I being unreasonably anxious? Or, do they care most about delinquencies?

They also care about how much debt your carrying and if your income can support it.

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As noted . . . Maxed out credit cards aren’t an issue by themselves as long as you are making the payments. However, there’s a difference between $10K in CC debt and a $70K salary and $80K in debt on a $40K salary. They will look at whether or not you are living beyond your means.


Merlin and Ed nailed it. In these cases a person;s FICO score may be much lower as the person exceeds 25% to 35% of income to debt ratio. But the FICO isn’t really looked at. It is the payment history. They will see the charge offs and lien but those are overcome with time and payment. They may clear you and give a warning letter putting your finances into a watch status where they periodically do a credit check. Stay on top of it, pay those bills and don’t miss any. I think your situation will be fine unless you are closer to the bad part of what Ed stated.

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Thank you very much for the responses. Salary is $110k… about $60k in credit cards. It’s slow, but they are getting paid off. Score definitely took a hit after thre renovations and repairs, but it’s slowly recovering.
Keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t delay my EOD and I can start with everyone else in this job.
Thank you!

The interest rates on the card must be killing you . . . Consider refinancing the home to pay them off or roll them into an equity line and pay them off faster with lower rates.

Be smart . . . You made a mistake with the way that you financed your home repair.

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Not delinquent over 120 days no big deal

I’m an Investigator. We don’t look at your income. We look at your credit report to find delinquent debt over 120 days past due. We find that and then all other debt over 30 days late has to be explained.


Okay… all of my delinquent debt is several years ago… and all paid. No lates in over 3 years.
Thank you, I appreciate the responses.

Interest rates not too bad… but, not as good as refinancing, for sure. Unfortunately, the repairs affected occupancy and couldn’t wait. A re-fi on a VA loan has a waiting period… and I just passed it.
Right now, I don’t want to apply for anything new.
Thank you!

Hello Defender66,

Are adjudicators not as concerned at the amount of CC debt, but more at whether the applicant is not delinquents on any payments? I have around 20K in CC debt but am not delinquent on any payments nor have I been in a very long time.

Only concerned when you are delinquent over 120 days and total debt is over 20K. If you aren’t delinquent, you’re good…


Thanks for the response! By total debt, you mean just CC debt correct? Don’t adjudicators look at CC debt as bad debt and student loans as “good debt?” In a perfect world, no debt would be ideal, but everyone has debt. Seeing how student loans are for gaining a college education and/or furthering one’s education, I assume that student loan debt is more forgiving than CC debt correct?

Defender - the IC investigations often look at, discuss, and report the household debt to income ratio. Most investigations (DCSA now) don’t but alot of Subjects in here are waiting/going through IC investigation.

Hi Defender, your a BI not an adjudicator, how can you be sure in the information your providing?

Adjudication is up to the agency, not the BI.

Experience in the Industry plus being a prior Information Protection Officer in the Air Force.

Hello! As an update… today, as part of suitability review (OARM), I received an email asking for proof of payment of the tax lien, and the reason for it, and the reason for student loan lates over 2 years ago. Also, reason for how long it took to take care of five charge-offs that occurred in 2012…all paid in 2017.

I have documentary evidence of everything (lien release/withdrawal) as well as copies of letters and money orders to the “charge off” companies mailed in 2013. Also, proof of five years of no lates on student loans, before paying less than minimum payment a few times through 2015-2017.

Luckily, I’m kind of a hoarder of paperwork… hopefully, it’s sufficient. Thanks for all the responses. I appreciate you guys.