Shutterstock.com

If the Shutdown Derails Your Finances, It Could Affect Your Security Clearance

Don’t panic, but don’t go on a shopping spree either. Money issues cause more clearance denials and revocations than all other issues combined.

The government shutdown is entering day 16, and if you’re a national security employee, you’re probably still working. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean you’re still getting a paycheck. While the Defense Department is working with appropriated funds, workers in the departments of Justice, State and elsewhere are now one pay period into not getting their regularly scheduled paycheck.

As past government shutdowns indicate, federal workers are likely to receive back pay for any days they were furloughed without a paycheck. But that doesn’t apply to furloughed contractors, who may be taking leave days or leave without pay. And while the government is shut down, the banks, credit card companies, and utility providers aren’t—the bills will continue to roll in, even if the paychecks don’t.

Financial Issues and Your Security Clearance

We recently analyzed the top reasons for security clearance denial in 2018. It should be no surprise that  finances continue to top the reasons for security clearance denial and revocation. (Financial issues cause more clearance denials and revocations than all other issues combined). And now that the government has access to your credit report at any time thanks to continuous monitoring, security clearance holders do have good reasons to be concerned that financial hardships brought about by the shutdown could affect their security clearance.

“Generally-speaking, a security clearance holder should be concerned any time she or he gets into financial difficulties,” notes security clearance attorney and ClearanceJobs contributor Sean Bigley. “Accounts in collections or ‘charge-off’ status, repossessions, foreclosures, and similar issues can all be viewed by the government as evidence that the clearance holder is not living within their means or is demonstrating a lack of personal responsibility incompatible with expectations.”

The Office of Personnel Management sent employees a sample letter to send to their creditors, to inform them about the government shutdown and note what they will be able to pay (in lieu of making full payments). They also advised employees to call creditors before they send the letter, to get direct advice on how to address their payment plans during the shutdown.

When Debt Is a Problem

The issue becomes a problem for security clearance holders who have been habitually late paying their bills—even before the partial government shutdown. For employees who have a pattern of being 30 to 60 days late making payments and who find the government shutdown exacerbates this problem, the effect on their credit score may be significant.

Just because their credit score is hurt, however, doesn’t mean they’ll lose their security clearance. The current government shutdown may cause more employees to be flagged under continuous evaluation (although this is less likely, since most evaluation currently covers Defense employees, who are still getting paid), but just because a clearance is flagged does not mean the employee would lose  eligibility. Cleared employees have the chance to mitigate any issues on appeal, and can take advantage of the ‘whole-person’ concept in arguing why they should keep a clearance. If your financial issues are directly related to the government shutdown, you will not lose your security clearance for a temporary reduction in your credit score or inability to pay bills.

“Circumstances beyond the clearance holder’s control—for example, a government shutdown—are most always viewed as mitigating details, provided the clearance holder acted reasonably under the circumstances,” said Bigley.

The caveat, however, is if the government shutdown exacerbates a pattern of financial irresponsibility. If the government sees a pattern of spending more than you make, and thousands of dollars in unpaid bills that are not shutdown related, you will have a hard time arguing the shutdown is to blame.

“My advice to clearance holders with finances impacted by the government shutdown is simply this: don’t panic, but also don’t go out and buy the new luxury car you’ve been eyeing until the government shutdown is resolved,” advises Bigley. “As long as you are acting as a reasonable, prudent person would act in the face of temporary financial uncertainty, you’ll probably be just fine.”

Lindy Kyzer is the editor of ClearanceJobs.com and a former Defense Department employee.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.