Financial Issues Top DOHA Clearance Denials in 2020
Out of ninety-three security clearance appeal decisions made by the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA) so far in 2020, sixty-eight of them involved financial issues. Failure to file or pay Federal and state taxes, delinquent credit cards accounts, collections, and a historical pattern of irresponsibility continue to plague applicants and their ability to obtain a clearance. Personal conduct issues ranked second highest and usually involved a lack of candor in omitting information or being untruthful on the investigative paperwork. In one particular appeals case the applicant claimed his six Federal tax liens, two state tax liens, and nine delinquent accounts totaling around $10,000 in debt weren’t listed on the SF-86 because he was not aware of them. Needless to say, the DOHA judge wasn’t impressed with his credibility and upheld the clearance denial.
It still amazes me how many security clearance applicants don’t do the research to find out what could cause a security clearance denial, nor do many take actions to mitigate possible concerns before applying for a job requiring a security clearance. With all the information out there online (especially on this blog site) ignorance is no excuse. The Adjudicative Desk Reference provides all applicants need to identify and address potential concerns. Most financial issues can be mitigated by taking proactive measures and getting a plan in place to show you are responsibly addressing your legal debts. In most appeals cases it is not the debt itself that causes the clearance denial, but rather the lack of action taken to address it.