Delinquent Debt & Security Clearance Denials

As you continue to research security clearance, you’ll soon discover that there are many reasons why someone’s security clearance application is denied – DUIs, a criminal record, domestic violence, alcoholism, substance abuse, financial problems, and so on. Applicants are consistently denied for financial issues, and there are good reasons for this. Despite the fact that it’s a widespread reason for security clearance denials, it persists year after year.

You may be wondering why applicants are consistently denied security clearance because of collections, bankruptcies, charge-offs, and foreclosures. Why are thousands of people denied security clearance because of delinquent debt every year? To the government, delinquent debt indicates poor judgment, a lack of self-control, irresponsibility, and a person’s inability to live within their means.

Circumstances Out of the Applicant’s Control

Ask any bankruptcy attorney and they’ll tell you that often, delinquent debt is due to circumstances that were out of the debtor’s control. The common culprits are a disability, illness, a sudden job loss, a layoff, or having to care for injured, sick, or disabled family members, such as a spouse or child.

If the applicant was responsible and tried to resolve their debt, there is a strong possibility that their case can be mitigated. From that point forward, it all comes down to perception. Was the debt caused by an uncontrollable circumstance or did it enhance an existing problem where the person already had an issue with living beyond their means?

Personnel security officials are determined to find out the truth and when an applicant has delinquent debt, they’ll use a variety of tactics to find out what that is. There is one question in particular that can catch applicants off-guard: “What kind of car do you drive?” If you respond with a modest domestic vehicle, the questions will probably end there, but if you come back with a foreign exotic or a newer luxury car, that’s when things will take a turn for the worse.

If an applicant has delinquent debt but a particularly expensive vehicle, it’s safe for the interviewer to assume the person is living beyond their means. When an applicant leaves their creditors in the dust to purchase a luxury vehicle, it doesn’t exactly leave a good impression, nor does it appear as if the applicant practices good judgment. Applicants in this situation may want to be proactive and swap their car for a modest vehicle before applying for security clearance.

Next: Your Financial History & Security Clearance

If you’re applying for security clearance and you’re concerned about delinquent debt holding you back, contact our firm to speak with a security clearance attorney.