Obtaining Security Clearance

Security Clearance Anxiety

With the economic downturn and entering the seventh year of overseas combat, some Soldiers and civilians are worried about their security clearance.

The commander of the U.S. Army Central Personnel Security Clearance Facility (CCF) wants all Army personnel to understand that “they can obtain counseling services for financial and mental health issues without undue concern of placing their security clearance status in jeopardy…

As previously mentioned on ClearanceJobsBlog, a bankruptcy or foreclosure will not automatically prevent one from obtaining or maintaining a security clearance. There are many conditions surrounding financial hardships that often mitigate security concerns.

In fact, about 98 percent of cases received by the CCF which involve financial issues were granted a security clearance. This trend has been consistent since 2005.  Individuals under financial duress are encouraged to contact their local Army Community Service or Military One Source to obtain financial counseling to determine how to best manage their debts.

Many Soldiers expressed an unwillingness to participate in behavioral or psychological health programs, however the OPM ensures that investigations are conducted in a manner compliant with the revised Q21, which excludes the reporting of treatment related to adjustments from service in a military combat environment, such as PTSD, or mild traumatic brain injury.

Executive Order 12968, Access to Classified Information states mental health counseling in and of itself is not a reason to revoke or deny a security clearance. Seeking support to address mental health issues demonstrates inner strength and embodies the Warrior Ethos, Army leaders have said.

Professional mental health counseling is not a threat to an individual’s security clearance; rather it can be a positive factor in the security clearance process, officials said.  CCF’s adjudicative history indicates that 99.98 percent of cases with psychological concerns obtained/retained their security clearance eligibility.  The current policy provides both adjudicators and commanders flexibility to allow individuals undergoing counseling to maintain their security clearance.

Related Articles: Personal Finances and Security Clearances

Comment Archive

  1. Avatar

    I do hope someone can help me! Here’s my question: I was born in India got my US citizenship in 2004 after living in the US for 17 years. Since 2006, I have lived in India for 70% of the time due to personal reasons ( parent’s ill-health). I have travelled on and off to the US and worked on IT contracts but have otherwise been in India. I recently got a contract position which requires me to pass a National Agency check and get an SF86 clearance. I’m very concerned that my stay in india could become an issue. Please advise.

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    I have similar problem. I am born in Korea but am US citizen live in US for 11 years but visit Korea often. Will I get security clearance? I am very worried. Someone please help. My job will terminate me if I do not have clearance.

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    I have been unemployed for over a year because of my secret clearance being revoked, lack of candor on my re-certification regarding a former employer several years ago.

    My understanding is that I am now eligible for reinstatement and have been offered a job. I have completed the SF-86 and submitted it, but the FSO received this message:

    “Your Electronic Questionnaire for Investigations Processing (e-QIP) request has been stopped. The e-QIP will be processed as a reapplication. You will be notified when DOHA has made a decision to accept or reject the reapplication.”

    Two questions, can DOHA grant an interim awaiting final? How long does it take for DOHA to make a decision?

    Thank you!

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    I was born in Sierra Leone; I recently became a US citizen. I have been offer a position that required a security Clearance. I have lived in the state for 5 years six months, 2 years in London; I am a dual citizen but I am willing to give up my sierra Leonean citizenship. Will this affect my eligibility for clearance?

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    Brad: Foreign travel per se is not a security concern, but the reason for your travel can be a security concern. Read over my article on “Foreign Influence and Security Clearances” at https://news.clearancejobs.com/2010/09/05/foreign-influence-and-security-clearances/ then come back here and post any question that you may have.

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    Joey: Guidelines B, C, and L (Foreign Influence, Foreign Preference and Outside Activities, respectively) of the Adjudicative Guidelines address the possible issues that may be present in your case. I recommend your read these guidelines, then if you have a question come back here and ask a question. You can find a copy of the “Adjudicative Guidelines” using Google. Make sure its the version has an approval date of December 2005 or an implementation date anytime after that. Also see my reply to Brad when it appears.

  7. Avatar

    The Army claims that “In fact, about 98 percent of cases received by the CCF which involve financial issues were granted a security clearance. This trend has been consistent since 2005.”

    This is mathematically possible if the denial rate at CCF is 1% and 50% of all cases involve a financial issue or if the denial rate at CCF is 2% and 100% of all cases involve a financial issue. But I don’t think either situation (or anything in between) actually exists.

    Even if correct, to say that 98% receive their clearance doesn’t provide a clear picture of what is going on. It would have been better to know the significance of financial issues compared to other issues (i.e. alcohol, drugs, criminal conduct, etc.). The central adjudication facility for the Navy (DONCAF) said that 70% of all clearance denials in 2008 were due to financial considerations. This seems a lot different than what the Army is saying.

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    How do I find out if a previous SBI was ok? I had an SBI running in 2002, when I was in the reserves. I want to know if it was granted (and when) or even if it was rejected, or if it was never finished. for my previous SBIs (88 and 97), they were both granted, but I never got notification. And I was active duty then.

    I realize the SBI would be pretty old, but would still like to know what happened, in case I ever need a job using a clearance. I have no idea what number to call.

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    (for previous) was naval service

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    My husband is applying for TS and has good credit and no other limiting factors. However, I have about $14,000 in credit card debt as his spouse. Will he be denied clearance based on this if everything else checks out okay? We pay the bills on time (on late payments).

    Just asking as the above mentions “70% of all clearance denials in 2008 were due to financial considerations.”

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    Agree. I haVe always wondered exactly what statistical model they use. I read these articles, but the word does not seem to get to the troops. I still routinely have folks answering yes to mental health questions when not required and always hear, “I didn’t know.” It appears we are not doing a good job telling the troops. I believe a good way to do this would be for the Fed OPM folks to attend Commander’s calls and brief–this is the best way to hit large audiences face-to-face. They seem to not have any liaison program with DoD, yet they are based at or near most larger installations.

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    Liaison gradually disappeared over the 20+ years I was with DIS/DSS. It didn’t exist at all within OPM FISD when I was with them. Street investigators are too busy trying to meet their productivity standards. With a 1:25 span of control, first-line supervisor don’t have the time either. Since they can’t see how liaison might advance their careers, today’s higher-level managers have no interest in it and do not make it requirement for their subordinates.

  13. Avatar

    BW and William,

    The answer may lie in the training of the security officers themselves. In a perfect world… they would give an SF-86 101-type briefing to explain how to fill out the form. I know they provide a lot of mis-information but maybe if THEY were trained properly they could pass the info along. Just a thought.

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    In 2007 I was granted a top secret clearance after a contracting firm sponsored but didn’t yet hire me (it was for an overseas position for which a vacancy first needed to occur). Later the same year I went to work for a (different) contractor utilizing that clearance but quit the job (with little notice) and have not used the clearance since. My understanding is that in this situation the clearance is called Current and remains such for two years from the time I quit the job. I’m now speaking with a different (third) contracting firm that requires the clearance. When this firm checks with the USG on the clearance, will they possibly see any “extra” information such as the fact that I quit with little notice, will they simply see that the clearance is Current as of xyz date, or something in between? Thank you in advance.

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    P.S. I quit the job in question in November 2007, so the clearance is still Current by my understanding.

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    Should be able to but you are running out of time. It is no crime to quit a job, no matter how much notice you give–so don’t sweat that.

  17. Avatar


    Guess I’m “Old School” thinking we are all in this together. Guess those were the good old days.

  18. Avatar

    up periscope:

    You got half of it–the adjudicative half. For the other half–the investigative half–you will have to send a Privacy Act request to DSS. Instruction are on their website at http://www.dss.mil/foia/

  19. Avatar

    Learned My Lesson:
    Clearance are denied or revoked under the “Financial Considerations” criterion of the Adjudicative Guidelines when there is significant delinquent debt or unexplained affluence. If your debts are current, you have nothing to worry about.

  20. Avatar


    Employers and employment applicants use the terms: active, current, and expired to describe their clearance status. In government clearance databases the terms “current” and “expired” are not used. The status field in these databases are not uniform; they use words like: Active, Revoked, Suspended, Debriefed, Terminated, and Loss of Jurisdiction.

    Yes, you have 24 months. The only unfavorable information that will appear in a clearance database record are words like: “Revoked,” “Suspended,” or “Incident Report.”

  21. Avatar

    I just received a tentative offer for a federal position in Washington, D.C. They won’t make a final offer until the security process is complete. What happens during this process? The human resources person just asked basic questions over the phone. I did not have to send her a form or anything thing.

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    Few months ago when I was looking for a job , I have received an offer from an employer (ABC) which needed secret clearance. I was told that I can start with interim clearance but my position will be fulltime contingent upon the approval of my secret clearance. I have completed the SF86 form and while waiting for the interim clearance I got another job from XYZ which doesn’t need clearance and I accepted it.
    Whie working at XYZ I was communicated by ABC stating that my interim got cleared and was asked to join them, but I told them that I can’t join them as I started at XYZ as the process was taking longer and also I am concerned about the contingency (approval of security clearance)on my job.
    After that I never heard back from the employer ABC or the FSO from that location, but it seems they haven’t stopped my investigation process as I had an interview by an investigator for a SPIN over a month ago. How should I be able to find the status of my security clearance? Should I be able to get the information directly with out contacting FSO at the ABC where I was offered the position? Thank you for your attention and apreciate the response

  23. Avatar

    I’ve been granted a Security Clearance by the National Guard in 1994, and a TS through DoD in 2005.

    I’m doing the TS update, and my agency is now using OPM for the investigation. During my last clearance, I put that I used Marijuana after being given a security clearance with the Guard in 1994. I was granted a TS/SCI clearance through my agency, but I wanted to know if I would have trouble with OPM regarding my clearance. Any advice?

  24. Avatar

    Cookie: Take a look at my article on “Employment Suitability Versus Security Clearances” posted at https://news.clearancejobs.com/2011/06/22/employment-suitability-versus-security-clearance/

    If you still have a question after reading the article, post it at “Ask Your Clearance Questions – Part 21” on this blog. See the link under “Recent Posts” near the top right of this webpage.

  25. Avatar

    Sri: The status of your clearance is almost certainly “Loss of Jurisdiction.” This is the status that appears in the clearance database whenever processing stops before a final clearance is decision is made. To find out for certain, send a Privacy Act request to the federal agency that should have made the clearance decision and ask for all information they have about you including the information that is mantained in the clearance database that they use. Most federal contractor clearances are handled by DISCO, which belongs to the Defense Investigative Service. They have a website with procedures for making Privacy Act requests. Also try the Office of Personnel Management for a copy of your investigative file.

  26. Avatar

    Sri: Sorry, I used the old name of the Defense Security Service (DSS), which used to be the Defense Investigative Service (DIS).