skip to Main Content

Security clearance concerns amid a recession and a pandemic

Security Clearance Concerns Amid A Recession And A Pandemic

For Americans who make careers out of military service, obtaining approval to handle classified information makes a big difference in terms of advancement and pay. Unfortunately, that coveted security clearance could become another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The economic fallout from the pandemic is impossible to ignore. Millions have filed for unemployment; many more have watched their paychecks shrink. Interruptions in school and child care complicate work and life for parents; people who are exposed to or contract COVID-19 may face long quarantines or illnesses that hinder their ability to work or result in tragedy. Given all of that, financial hardship looms large for many.

Yet the number one reason for security clearance requests to be denied is financial issues. Last year, of the initial Department of Defense clearance denials that were appealed, nearly half of the initial denials were for financial considerations — by far the largest category, according to figures published by ClearanceJobs. And that’s before the pandemic began taking a toll on the economy. The reasoning, in a nutshell: Debt could make someone more vulnerable to bribery or coercion, or signal a character flaw or lack of judgment.

Fortunately, the U.S. military has specified that financial hardships created by COVID-19 will not count against individuals when it comes to their security clearances. The key factors here are that “the conditions that resulted in the financial problem were largely beyond the person’s control … and the individual acted responsibly under the circumstances.” (Security Executive Agent Directive 4 Guideline F, Financial Considerations)

Notably, this doesn’t mean the pandemic provides an automatic pass on bad debt or pre-pandemic financial issues; the Department of Defense Consolidation Adjudications Facility (CAF) still evaluates all the circumstances to determine true security risk. A crucial differentiator is the reason for the debt, not the debt itself. Student loans, unexpected medical bills, identity theft, or financial hardships prompted by death, job loss or a divorce may be flagged, but they don’t necessarily rule out security clearance. Such mitigating circumstances make a difference, as does a proper response.

So what does it mean to act responsibly amid a global pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the national economy, not to mention personal finances?

The first step is to be proactive. CAF looks much more favorably on individuals who have promptly, honestly and voluntarily notified their superiors of their financial troubles, as well as reached out to creditors — mortgage lenders, landlords, credit card companies, etc. — to come up with a plan to handle debts.

Secondly, keep records of all communications. This may mean keeping contemporaneous notes of phone conversations, following up on conversations with emails that summarize the exchanges, or filing away written communication. Even if a creditor is unhelpful or the attempt is unsuccessful, the records can help prove responsible action.

Third, act to remedy the situation. If the family loses income, show efforts to curb spending, pursue help or seek additional employment. Many banks, landlords and credit card companies currently offer assistance because of the pandemic; look into those programs to find out whether they could help in the specific situations.

Additionally, in the military, there are a number of resources available to service members (Source: Military OneSource):

  • Military relief societies for each branch of the armed forces, offering emergency financial relief. These options may include interest-free loans, grants or a combination of the two.
  • HEROES Care, which works through mental health providers, employment assistance programs and others to help military families in their home communities.
  • The American Red Cross confidentially directs people to various local, state and national resources.
  • Free personal financial managers are available through the Family Centers at military installations.
  • Military OneSource free financial counseling can put service members and their families in touch with specific programs or services, help set up payment plans with creditors, and provide other services.

Understandably, dealing with security clearance reviews may be difficult while service members struggle under the weight of a pandemic and the added stress it brings to other areas of life. If CAF requests more information during a review, it’s allowing extensions through 30 days after the pandemic ends for the person to respond. If a security clearance ultimately is denied or revoked, service members have the right to a hearing.

The decision given the pandemic is whether to request an in-person or virtual hearing. Meeting in person can go a long way in establishing credibility with a judge, but some agencies allow video teleconferencing if an in-person meeting isn’t possible. Still, it’s worth considering whether a virtual meeting would have the same effect in communicating personal character and responsibility.

Given a global calamity that’s putting tremendous stress on the minds, health and finances of so many, there are bound to be additional difficulties for service members. However, help is available, and it’s important to remember that the Department of Defense considers more than just the debt on a balance sheet.

This article was originally published in Virgina Lawyers Weekly. You can view the article here.

More stories

Wire fraud defenses
Criminal Defense
Uncategorized

Defenses Against Federal Wire Fraud Charges

invictuslaw

If you have been charged with wire fraud, you need an experienced federal defense lawyer to represent you and protect your rights. Wire fraud is a serious offense that can…

read more
Child support and taxes
Family Law

If I pay child support, can I deduct the payments from my taxes? 

invictuslaw

Divorce can have a wide-ranging impact on your life, including how you do your taxes. No matter if you are the parent paying or receiving child support, you need to…

read more
Military Times: End the Navy’s vessel exception. Give sailors and Marines the due process afforded to every other US service member
Military Law

Military Times: End the Navy’s vessel exception. Give sailors and Marines the due process afforded to every other US service member

invictuslaw

The Navy vessel exception to Article 15 non-judicial punishment (NJP) is outdated and needs to be removed. Whether you are familiar with NJP by the terms “captain’s mast,” “office hours,"…

read more
Fix your military records: Give yourself the future you have earned
Military Law

Military Times: Fix your military records: Give yourself the future you have earned

invictuslaw

Serving in the military is a sacrifice. When your service is complete, you want your record of service to be accurate and helpful. If you are a veteran who was…

read more
5 Ways to Strengthen Your DUI Defense
Criminal Defense

5 Ways to Strengthen Your DUI Defense

invictuslaw

Getting pulled over, being investigated and charged with a DUI can be a scary experience. Many people assume that they will automatically end up in jail, but the reality is…

read more
What is Shoplifting in Virginia?
Criminal Defense

What is Shoplifting in Virginia?

invictuslaw

Shoplifting raises the cost of doing business in Virginia. Every single day, hundreds of people steal goods from stores, causing thousands of dollars in losses. Like other states, Virginia criminalizes…

read more
Family Law
Military Law

We need a divorce — but my spouse is deployed. Now what?

Thomas Wright

Military life, and particularly deployments, can be stressful for families. Sometimes, the path a family chooses points to divorce — but what does that mean when one or both parties…

read more
Security Clearance

Can owning stock in marijuana companies affect my security clearance?

Eric Leckie

Using marijuana is a big no-no in the military — but even owning stocks in cannabis-related companies could put your career at risk. That may seem far-fetched if you’re not…

read more
Military Law

Military drug offenses: What you need to know

Eric Leckie

The military takes a hardline view of drug use. Infractions — even just a positive drug test — can deal devastating blows to the careers and reputations of active-duty service members. That’s…

read more
Criminal Defense

What is a “refusal” charge and how does it affect my license?

Eric Leckie

It is intimidating to find yourself dealing with a police officer who suspects you of driving while intoxicated. But there’s a whole separate set of challenges if, after an arrest,…

read more
Criminal Defense
Family Law
Military Law
Security Clearance

Careers at Invictus Law

Kristine Wasson

Careers At Invictus Law, we firmly believe that each person plays a critical role as a member of our legal team. We are committed to providing a supportive work environment…

read more
blog12 (1)
Security Clearance

Security clearance concerns amid a recession and a pandemic

Eric Leckie

For Americans who make careers out of military service, obtaining approval to handle classified information makes a big difference in terms of advancement and pay. Unfortunately, that coveted security clearance…

read more
covid (1)
Family Law

Invictus Law Family Lawyer Thomas Wright Featured in Local News Broadcast

Thomas Wright

Our Family Law Director, Attorney Thomas Wright of Invictus Law has recently been featured on News3 WTKR, a local Norfolk News broadcast, that discusses the challenges of co-parenting in the…

read more
What you need to know about Assault and Battery
Criminal Defense

What you need to know about Assault and Battery

Shemeka Hankins

A conviction for assault and battery can make you seem in the minds of many people in the same class of most violent criminals.  Many times, an assault charge may…

read more
stock1-iv-11- (1)
Family Law

Military divorce in the COVID-19 era: 3 snags to watch

Thomas Wright

Beyond the staggering physical toll of the coronavirus pandemic, family relationships are grappling with a daunting new set of challenges. Throw in a military career and divorce, and the situation…

read more
Criminal Defense

When Home isn’t Safe: Domestic Violence During a Pandemic

Shemeka Hankins

Spurred by the threat of a deadly coronavirus outbreak, many Americans — including those in the military community — have sought shelter in the safety of their homes, whether out…

read more
Criminal Defense

Virginia COVID-19 Response Motions all Jails: New Opportunities for Sentence Reductions and Bond Reconsiderations

Eric Leckie

Invictus Law is concentrating its efforts for the next three weeks to serving the community by helping those currently serving sentences in the local area. We are ready to help…

read more
420 IN VIRGINIA: 6 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHANGES TO MARIJUANA LAWS
Criminal Defense

420 IN VIRGINIA: 6 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CHANGES TO MARIJUANA LAWS

Thomas Wright

In historical fashion, the Virginia General Assembly passed multiple bills regarding the decriminalization of marijuana.  With Monday, April 20, 2020, being commonly referred (not to be confused with “reefered”) to…

read more
Family Law

COVID-19 – School Closures & Child Custody Matters

Thomas Wright

Schools Closed Until Summer On March 23, 2020, through Executive Order, Governor Northam ordered statewide closures of all schools (K-12) for the remainder of the academic year. This will certainly…

read more
Family Law

Virginia COVID-19 Response – Invictus Law Takes Steps for All Services, First Responders, Medical Professionals, and Spouses Free Power of Attorney

Eric Leckie

Invictus Law Joins the Fight Against COVID-19 The COVID-19 epidemic is causing many to look at a frightening health situation they have never needed to consider before. In response to…

read more
Criminal Defense

Attorney Eric Leckie Featured by Two Newsgroups for Ongoing Norfolk Murder

Eric Leckie

Criminal Defense Attorney Eric Leckie of Invictus Law has recently been featured by multiple newsgroups for his role as defense counsel for a man accused of shooting and killing a…

read more
Criminal Defense
Military Law

Attorney Eric Leckie Defends Client Facing Accessory After the Fact of Murder Charges

Eric Leckie

Attorney Eric Leckie of Invictus Law is defending a 19 year old woman who is facing two counts of “accessory after the fact of murder” charges in connection to the…

read more
Military Law

Attorney Eric Leckie Representing Navy Sailor in Flint Water Controversy

Eric Leckie

Attorney Eric Leckie is currently representing a Navy Sailor who claims to have been subjected to retaliation from superiors while stationed at the Sewells Point Police Precinct at Naval Station…

read more
Military Law

Flint Water Crisis – Media Appearance

Eric Leckie

Eric Leckie of Invictus Law was recently featured in the news due to his representation of a client involved in the Flint Water Crisis case. View the articles below to…

read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top