Many consumers in Maryland need to meet security clearance requirements. We have lots of experience defending people whose clearance is threatened when they get sued or pursued to pay money that may or may not be owed.
We represent active and retired military as well as civilian contractors who have varying levels of security clearance. If you have or want to get a security clearance, then you already know that your background is an open book.
And you know that having an unresolved lawsuit or judgment against you can mean the denial or loss of security clearance.
Debt is not uncommon: 80 percent of adults have some sort of debt. When it comes to security clearance requirements and debt, the issue is more about showing you’re reliable and responsible than it is about the money.
The most important thing with security clearance requirements is to be open and honest about your financial situation and show that you’re working towards a solution.
If you get sued or have inaccurate debts listed on your credit reports, then consider hiring, a reliable debt defense attorney to fight the charges and to provide advice & guidance.
Here are three things you need to know about debt and security clearance requirements.
1. It’s Less About the Debt and More About You
The issue with debt isn’t really about the money itself. It’s considered a security risk if your debt portrays you as a person who makes poor decisions or isn’t reliable once you make a commitment.
Guideline F of the Adjudicative Guidelines sets out the following concerns:
An individual who is financially overextended is at risk of having to engage in illegal acts to generate funds. . . Conditions that could raise a security concern and may be disqualifying included: (1) A history of not meeting financial obligations; (2) Deceptive or illegal financial practices; (3) Inability or unwillingness to satisfy debts . . . (5) Financial Problems that are linked to gambling, drug abuse, alcoholism, or other issues of security concern.
So, although debts that indicate bad judgment (such as gambling debts or debts arising from illegal behavior) are worse than simply not being able to pay a debt, an inability to pay is still a concern no matter what.
2. Know and Show Your Debt
Regardless of their source, it’s important that you disclose all of your debts to pass security clearance requirements. Being open and transparent about your situation shows that you are honest and less likely to pose a security risk.
To make sure you have disclosed everything, you should obtain all three major credit reports from www.annualcreditreport.com. Otherwise, it could appear as though you’re attempting to hide something or downplay your debts, which only works against you.
If you have less-common types of debt, such as payday loans, you should also get reports from the specialty consumer reporting agencies, such as:
- LexisNexis (https://consumer.risk.lexisnexis.com/)
- Clarity (https://www.clarityservices.com/support/file-disclosure/)
- DataX, which is affiliated with Equifax (https://consumers.dataxltd.com/assets/pdf/datax_consumer_report_request_aa.pdf)
You should also check the Maryland Judiciary Case Search for any cases that have been filed against you (http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/casesearch/).
Failing to show or report debt collection issues or a lawsuit could be seen as trying to hide or ignore the debt. This will only negatively impact the perception of you as an individual.
3. Address Your Debts
Debts, regardless of their source, are less of a problem if you admit to them and address them.
If you do owe money, be prepared to show that you have a payment plan and that you’re making payments.
Show what you’re doing to challenge the debt if you’re sued or challenged over a debt you don’t owe. Hire a debt collection defense attorney to defend you.
Guideline F explains that some of the mitigating factors for debt-related concerns are:
(1) The behavior was not recent; (2) It was an isolated incident; (3) the conditions that resulted in the behavior were largely beyond the person’s control . . . (4) The person received or is receiving counsel for the problem and there are clear indication that the problem is being resolved or is under control. . . (6) The individual initiated a good-faith effort to repay overdue creditor or otherwise resolve debts.
Get Help with Debt to Pass Your Security Clearance Requirements
The Holland Law Firm is happy to help. Whether you’re being sued for an alleged debt from a car repossession, identity theft, surprise medical bills, or by a former landlord, Homeowners Association a student loan servicer, or a credit card company, the Holland Law Firm can help. Don’t give up. Give us a call. Contact us to set up a consultation appointment.