Young one on the right path

I got an offer from the DoD & I need a TS clearance. I’m in my mid-20s & I had jobs instead of completing school like most people my age. I have a surprisingly low amount of debt for student loans, $19k.

However, since I worked, I took on some responsibilities that were necessities for me to survive. This included cars, credit cards, and other things to build credit.

Basically, I lost a couple of my jobs from the age of 17 up until now & I accumulated some debt in some other areas.
This included a few voluntary repos and 3 charged off cards.
For TU, I owe $2600 in collections.
For Equifax, I owe a total of $12k in collections, due to eviction with a bum old roommate.
Total, I have about $31k in debt.

In a payment plan for $300 of IRS debt due to not having a steady job at the moment.

I have signed up for credit counseling to settle my debt, and they’re going to try to cut the amount in over half to get it down to about $11k. I’m actively working on repairing my credit and my score is low due to limited history.

My TU score is over 500, Equifax below because I took a hit with the student loan issue I mentioned.

I’m actively working on my situation, and actually getting this position could get me out of debt in 1-2 years.

SN: I did pass an IRS Security Clearance via eQiP to work for a Contractor back in 2015, but some additional accounts have posted since then.

Drugs and other things are not a problem for me. I have attended counseling for mental health and plan on disclosing. I will be giving full disclosure… not hiding anything at all.

Do any vets on this board have feedback or tips on how my case may go?

I would be happier to see you going for a secret instead of a TS but you might still have a chance. Some here will tell you that you are a “no go” and to wait until you get things cleaned up but I believe that these can be mitigated if you get things under control now and have plans well in place and are paying off debt before your investigation really gets under way.

But, don’t expect this to go easy. You’re going to be denied and you’re going to have to together and defense for your appeal. You’re looking at 18 months to two years (as a guess). I would go for it now instead of waiting. If you are denied on appeal, you will have to report it for every future security investigation but that can also be mitigated if you keep your credit clean going forward. Get the government debt, the taxes and student loans under control as quickly as possible. They will be the biggest issue.

On the credit counseling . . . Be sure that you are working with someone reputable and make sure that you stay on top of what they are doing. Don’t just let them work. Pay attention so that if an investigator or adjudicator asks, you know exactly what is going on.

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Thanks for your reply that really helps.

As for getting started on my appeal portion, how does that work?
Do I get a lawyer on retainer now?

No . . . I wouldn’t give a lawyer money until you need to. When and if you receive an SOR, a list of reasons that the government wants to deny you a clearance, is the time to go. You should be able to get a free consultation to give you an idea of your chances.

Right now, you gather documentation on all of your debt. Take a look at the Adjudicative Guidelines (Google search) guideline F is for financial issue. Read the whole document and figure what mitigating factors apply to each of your debts and start to write some notes about which factors apply to which debt and document what you can. This is not a fun job but the more you do, the easier it will be later.

I second Ed on waiting till you get a SOR before getting a lawyer. The SOR will spell out the governments concerns so you’ll know exactly what to respond to. Do the research Ed is suggesting so you’re prepared.

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