Below are some things to consider and some frequently asked questions related to security clearances, furloughs and indebtedness.
A furlough could create financial strain or hardship for federal employees. Those holding a security clearance face the same financial strains as other federal employees.
The Federal Adjudicative Guidelines consider the circumstances that led to a financial problem as well as the individual’s actions to responsibly contend with financial problems.
The personnel security adjudicators who are responsible for granting or denying security clearances are sensitized to and also personally impacted by a furlough.
Employees who encounter financial problems ue to a furlough should:
Work with their creditors to maintain their ebts in a responsible manner;
Keep documentation of their financial situation and communications with creditors; and
Keep their local security office informed if they are experiencing financial problems.
Employees should make use of their Employee Assistance Program as needed during these stressful times. The EAP office is located in the Frank Knox Building, building 2189, Room 108. For more information, call the local EAP office during duty hours at 301-757-1868 or the hot line 24/7 at 800-222-0364. Employees can also visit: www.navair.navy.mil/TFSMD/benefits/ceap.html.
Civilian employees are invited to attend the free Fleet and Family Support Center's "Managing Your Finances and Stress During a Possible Furlough" briefing 5-6:30 p.m. March 21 at the Fleet and Family Support Center. The briefing offers tips on dealing with stress, and strategies for creating a family spending plan.
Q: If being furloughed contributes to financial hardship, how will the DOD Adjudicators assess my clearance eligibility?
A: A furlough is a circumstance that is beyond your control. The Federal Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information specify that the adjudicative process is the careful weighing of a number of variables known as the whole person concept.
Mitigating factors include: The conditions that resulted in the concern were largely beyond the person’s control and the individual acted responsibly under the circumstances.
Q: The Federal Adjudicative Guidelines reference an individual acting responsibly when faced with financial problems. If being furloughed contributes to financial hardship, what actions should I take to demonstrate I am handling my situation responsibly?
A: Each individuals financial circumstances are unique, so no one course of action will suit everyone’s particular needs. When assessing the seriousness of financial issues, the cause of the debts and actions taken—or not taken—to pay debts and habits and trends tell far more about a person’s reliability, trustworthiness and judgment than the amount of debt.
Individuals should continue to pay their debts to the best of their ability and should maintain contact with their creditors to make arrangements to pay their debts, even if this means delaying or reducing payments.
Additionally, you should keep your security office informed if you are experiencing or beginning to experience financial problems.
Q: I understand the need to work with my creditors, document my situation, and keep my security office informed, but what else should I be doing to protect my security clearance?
A: Candidates for security clearance are evaluated to assess judgment, reliability, trustworthiness, and being an overall good security risk. If you consistently act in ways that reflect your good judgment your security clearance should not be at risk. If you start to encounter financial problems, credit counseling may be a useful tool; the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, www.nfcc.org, is a nonprofit organization offering help for individuals experiencing financial problems. Your local EAP may also offer some assistance regarding financial problems or stress management workshops, among other services.
Q: What kinds of financial hardships should be reported if they occur?
A: You should notify your security officer or supervisor in writing if, because of furlough, you:
* Face bankruptcy;
* Are unable to pay federal, state or other taxes required by law or ordinance;
* Require credit counseling;
* Become delinquent on alimony or child support payments;
* Have a judgment entered against you for failure to meet financial obligations;
* Have liens placed against you;
* Become delinquent on a federal debt;
* Have possessions or property repossessed;
* Default on loans;
* Have accounts turned over to a collection agency;
* Have credit accounts suspended, charged off or canceled for failure to pay as agreed;
* Are evicted for non-payment;
* Have wages garnished in order to satisfy a financial obligation; or
* Become more than 120 days delinquent on a debt.
Providing notification demonstrates responsibility which can mitigate any security concerns about the debts themselves.