Security Clearance Denial

Waiting for Delinquent Debts to Fall Off Credit Report is not a Good Tactic

Many clearance applicants who have delinquent debts, collections, or charges offs on their credit report believe that if they simply wait for the debts to fall off after seven years then all will be forgiven. Unfortunately, this rarely works because it is seen as a lack of responsibility and trustworthiness. If you enter into a contract with creditors, promise to repay them within a certain time period, and then turn around and blow it off without any reasonable attempt to do so, you are now considered to be unreliable and dishonest for not fulfilling obligations you voluntarily incurred for your own personal gain. In a recent Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals case a clearance applicant was initially denied eligibility for a clearance because of having over $100,000 in delinquent debts without any proof of having acted responsibly in trying to resolve them. Here are the particulars of the case.

An Ongoing, Unresolved Debt Issue

The applicant had several past due accounts and charge offs for debts he incurred going back as far as 2011. During his appeal the applicant tried to claim some of the debts listed in the statement of reasons were part of an identity theft incident from 2011 in which he had filed a police report, however, the specific debts in question had been disclosed by the applicant on previous security clearance applications and also had been covered during a subject interview in which the applicant acknowledged the debts were his.

It was quite clear to the judge the applicant was simply deflecting, had not taken any reasonable actions towards addressing the debts, and was simply waiting for them to fall off his credit report. In fact, four debts actually did drop off a more current credit report provided by the applicant during the appeal hearing. The judge opined that regardless of the absence of the debts on the most recent credit report, once delinquencies are identified it is incumbent upon the applicant to show proof of debt resolution.

Clearance denied!


  1. This is similar to my situation. I am assuming that my interim TS is rescinded in last March due to delinquent property tax account.
    Is there any threshold on delinquent amount or the clearance gets suspended\revoked\rescinded regardless of how minimum the delinquent amount is?

  2. Even if the entry has “fallen off” of the credit report, I’m almost certain that there would still be some record of it somewhere, which could likelyl turn up during a BI.

  3. The problem here, as I see it, isn’t the debt or even the idea of waiting for it to fall off your credit report. Entries, good and bad, that age off of your credit report are not likely to show up in any investigation.

    The problem that I see in the case described is that the debt was previously reported, the applicant changed his story and there was no effort to address the debt. This applicant’s problems were not all under Guideline F. There are issues with candor, honestly and personal behavior all wrapped up in a wad . . .