Obtaining your security clearance is one thing, retaining it is another. While the road to a cleared career is largely paved by the choices of your past, maintaining eligibility requires a continuous commitment to standards set by the U.S. federal government. Whether you work for a government agency or defense contractor, here are a few factors that could impact your clearance status.  

Financial Concerns 

Financial issues are the top cause of security clearance denials and revocations. Excessive debt or defaulting on loans are major red flags to the government, as they increase your chances of being a target of foreign espionage. This includes paying your taxes and, with payments resuming in October, paying your student loans. Ensure your payments are on time, and don’t spend beyond your means.  

Substance Abuse  

If you’re a clearance holder, you know drug use is not tolerated, and that continues so long as your clearance is active. Developing a drug or alcohol problem or associating closely with those who do can be detrimental to your eligibility. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, seek help and keep your FSO informed.  

Foreign Travel and Connections 

Are you planning a vacation overseas? Report it to your FSO. Secret trips abroad or excessive travel to certain countries can raise questions about divided loyalties or potential foreign influence.  

Criminal Behavior and Personal Conduct 

Criminal activities, even if not related to national security, can cast doubts on your trustworthiness and adherence to the law. Similarly, consistently displaying poor judgment, dishonesty, or a lack of integrity can negatively impact your clearance. Upholding a high standard of ethics is vital to maintaining eligibility. 

Online Activities 

Inappropriate or careless social media posts, associations with extremist groups, or sharing sensitive information online have the potential to impact your status.  

Regular self-assessment and a willingness to address potential clearance-affecting factors will contribute to a successful and enduring cleared career. By staying vigilant, ethical, and clear-headed, you can ensure your eligibility for handling classified information remains intact. To keep up to date on the latest security and defense news, visit us at ClearanceJobs.com.  

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Phoebe Wells is the Public Relations & Partnerships Marketing Manager at ClearanceJobs and loves every aspect of her role. Creating content and working with the CJ team to connect cleared candidates with employers is incredibly rewarding, as the work ClearanceJobs does ultimately supports the mission of the U.S. As the daughter of a veteran and former cleared worker, she knows the sacrifices security and defense professionals make. She is honored to assist them in leveling up their careers. Plus, she gets to work from home in the Adirondack Mountains with her partner and two huskies!