Financial reasons encompass the biggest reasons for security clearance denial from year to year. Will a shoddy credit report because of a repossessed car be cause for denial when hoping to obtain public trust?

This ClearanceJobs subscriber was hoping no:

I have to get a PT clearance for a position that I’m being considered for with HHS in DC and I am wondering if I have a shot…I only have one negative report that is showing on my credit report (a repo of my old car, b/c I had lost my job and wasn’t able to make the note) and it’s charged off. Other than that, I have no other issues that I can think of that may cause me any concern. I have spoken with several people who have secret clearances, and they say that I should be fine. This is my 1st time trying to get a clearance of any kind and I really want it so that I can get this position because it would definitely help me out now and in the long term. Any answers? Please respond if you can help or was in a similar situation and got your PT Clearance. Thank you.


Adjudicators take the whole-person concept into consideration, so a repo’d car in your past may not necessarily preclude you from obtaining the position requiring a public trust clearance. The mitigating factors to consider are 1) time; and 2) what steps you have taken to better your financial situation and fix the issues. This can include:

  1. Paying your bills.
  2. Not running up other significant debts or living beyond your means.
  3. Work with creditors to resolve your current
  4. Consider credit counseling if you have other outstanding money issues.


The original poster continued on the thread, “I just found out that my Public Trust will be moderate risk, so my next question is…what will be checked for this type of clearance? My manager at HHS is saying that it should take about 2 months to get an interim, but that the completion of the clearance will probably be a year from now…so I’m being hopeful that all goes well.”

Public Trust is a type of background investigation, but it’s technically not a clearance. Depending on the job, you will complete the SF-85 application, undergo a background investigation, potentially a NACI check and credit report check.

Moving forward, here are some financial considerations to consider:

  1. Pay/File your taxes on time.
  2. Monitor your credit report.
  3. Report any issues to your security officer/investigator.

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Katie Keller is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 8+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸