Making ‘cents’ of financial implications on a security clearance

By: Stacy Livingstone-Hoyte

Obtaining and maintaining a security clearance is vital to the Mission Readiness and Success equation of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The Department of Defense Central Adjudication Facility (DODCAF) determines who is eligible to hold a security clearance by referencing certain standards and a list of thirteen (13) adjudicative guidelines. One such guideline, “financial consideration,” examines an individual’s credit report to determine if the person is financially trustworthy. If derogatory items, such as monetary court judgments, bankruptcy or large amounts of debts in collections, are found, individuals who encounter security clearance issues based on “financial considerations” have the opportunity to present a justified argument with evidence to support any claims to DODCAF.

Much like a recent TV commercial that talks about key behaviors that can help people work through financial problems as a homeowner, the critical points in working through credit issues are being open and honest, taking early and prudent action, and then developing and executing an agreeable plan with your creditors (with documentation). Key points of contact when dealing with security clearance issues related to your finances are:

– Your Command security manager will communicate information to the adjudicating agency, the Command, and inform you of response deadlines to help make sure you meet the deadlines. If additional time is needed, ask for it promptly. Be clear and up front about each item that the security manager discusses with you.

– A Command Financial Specialist, Fleet and Family Support Center Financial Specialist or other qualified financial counselors can help you develop a good faith financial plan, provide general information and assist in your responses to any financial issues requiring your response.

If DODCAF initially denies you a security clearance or has revoked it, you will be given information about the appeals process. The Personnel Security Appeals Board (PSAB) can overturn DODCAF’s decision. To appeal, prepare a written response and submit it through your Command security manager or present your argument before a Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals (DOHA) Judge who can submit a recommendation to the PSAB.

The key to a successful appeal is proof and honesty! For example, provide proof of payment in the case of delinquent debts, not just a promise to pay or note about payment arrangements.

Freedom from financial stressors can be accomplished by making plans, setting goals, making reasonable and sensible choices, charting your progress, sticking to your budget, planning for contingencies and securing an emergency fund. Additionally, to prevent fraud and identity theft, review your credit report several times a year. . You can find out information on where to get free credit reports and other information on these reports at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports. These reports are key in addressing and limiting financial concerns. All these steps lead to peace of mind and help to ensure a favorable security determination.

For more on Navy security clearance issues, forms, briefs and training material visit: http://www.ncis.navy.mil/securitypolicy.

About the Author:

Stacy Livingstone-Hoyte, AFC® is an experienced Financial Counselor who has worked extensively with U.S. Armed Forces members and families. She is a recent volunteer blogger for Navynavstress.com but contributed previously while serving at the Fleet and Family Support Center, Millington, TN. Prior to government service she worked as a Financial Services Representative for several brokerage and insurance firms. As a military spouse, Ms. Livingstone-Hoyte knows firsthand of the financial challenges and opportunities that face Military families across the globe. To that end, she embraces a steadfast belief that financial success can be simple, just not easy.

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