Whether a consumer bankruptcy filing will affect current or requested security clearance depends on the honesty of the person being investigated, the individual circumstances and the opinion of the adjudicating agency.
All investigations are performed by the Office of Personnel Management/Federal Investigative Services (OPM/FSI) staff or OPM outside contractors.
OPM/FIS reports to the “client” – a government agency – and the agency performs the actual adjudication. Depending on the situation, the agency can (1) deny clearance, (2) approve clearance, or (3) issue a provisional or temporary clearance pending further investigation. There is due process and an appeal procedure.
Falsifying any information on the investigation questionnaire or in interviews is very damaging to the applicant.
OPM/FSI investigations use the “whole person” concept. Efforts to mitigate negative behavior or action are key elements. For example:
» If a person has overwhelming debt from family medical bills and makes a timely bankruptcy filing along with credit counseling and any other discharge requirements, the bankruptcy may be regarded as a good faith action to mitigate the problem.
» If a person runs up irresponsible credit card debt and refuses to acknowledge requests for payment for some time and there is subsequent legal action, a bankruptcy may not be regarded as appropriate mitigation and may negatively affect the security clearance.
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