You may be required to obtain government security clearance for your job in order to access classified information. However, it’s important to know you’re not the only one who’s screened as part of your security clearance review. Your spouse may be involved, as well, and may be included in your background investigation and interviewed.
Some individuals applying for security clearance are concerned their application will not be approved because their spouse has debt or a poor credit history. While it is possible that your spouse’s bad credit score could affect your application, what counts more is whether or not your credit history has been negatively affected by your spouse.
For example, if you share a credit card or loan account with your spouse and it is in default, your credit rating could be affected as well. A delinquent account that is in your spouse’s name will not affect your credit unless your name is also on the account.
In some states, spouses are automatically liable for each other’s debts. If you want to maintain good credit, you need to make sure that any account with your name on it, whether it is your own or held jointly, remains current. If this is done, your spouse’s credit history will most likely not be an issue when your credit is checked during the security clearance application.
Your spouse being behind on debt payments does not have to kill your chances of obtaining a security clearance. If none of the accounts in your own name show a poor credit history or delinquency, then your spouse’s poor credit will not likely affect your security clearance application.
In contrast, if you share an account with your spouse and your own credit history is negatively affected as a result of their debt, it could have a larger impact on your security clearance application. However, you still may have options to mitigate the effects of a poor credit report.
There are extenuating circumstances that are set forth in the Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information, such as in Guideline F, which is as follows:
- The behavior occurred many years ago or was an isolated incident
- The circumstances that created the financial problem were outside of the applicant’s control, such as a medical emergency
- The applicant made an effort to repay the debt
In addition, an experienced security clearance lawyer might suggest you provide information that shows you are capable of using good judgment, such as character references and work performance records. A security clearance lawyer will also help prepare you for the questions that could arise during the application process and can help you to rebut or mitigate them.
When facing security clearance concerns, it is crucial that you secure knowledgeable legal representation. At Invictus Law, we advise clients in all stages of the security clearance process.
How Debt Could Impact Security Clearance
While excessive debt can be a reason for denying a security clearance application, there is not a set amount of debt in the military that will result in the application being denied. The term used for disqualifying an applicant is “excessive indebtedness.”
This is, of course, open to interpretation, and the income and assets of applicants vary widely. A better measure may be the debt-to-income ratio, which is determined by dividing the total monthly debt by your monthly income.
How a Virginia Security Clearance Lawyer Could Help
For government workers, military personnel, and defense contractors, a security clearance determines their eligibility to continue to build a career. Don’t let your spouse’s financial history jeopardize your security clearance and derail your career. Consult with an experienced Virginia security clearance attorney at Invictus Law.
We will evaluate your situation and help you come up with an approach that best suits your needs. Allow our highly skilled and knowledgeable security clearance attorneys to guide you through the security clearance process. Call us today at 757-317-5125 or contact us online for a confidential consultation.