Do I need to unfreeze my credit report when applying for a security clearance


If you pull a copy of SF-86 online you might be surprised when you read the fine print and it says, “If you have a security freeze on your consumer or credit file, we may not be able to complete your investigation, which may harm your eligibility for a national security position.” This language is in direct contrast to the Notice of Federal Investigation October 2018 who noted that subjects do not need to unfreeze their credit reports as part of the security clearance background investigation process.

You’re probably not surprised to learn that government security clearance policies don’t change frequently. The process required to make changes to the SF-86 is tedious. And that means any change requires some kind of action from the executive branch or Congress. In the case of access to credit reports, the policy update resulted in an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act that allows the government to access credit information as part of credit investigation decisions. employment or background. The change didn’t require any SF-86 updates – which is good, because SF-86 updates don’t happen very often.

The current version of the SF-86 is dated 2016. Changes have been made to the options and questions on the eQIP or online application for security clearances, but the paper version you see in circulation is still dated of 2016 and still includes this language on the thaw. credit reports – although this is not mandatory. Before the 2016 update, the version of the SF-86 used was from 2010.

Credit freezes and ongoing verification

One of the main reasons for FIN 2018 was to empower the government to ensure continuous oversight of licensed professionals. Since financial problems are a leading cause of denial of permission and financial problems are a key risk factor in blackmail and espionage cases, the ability to continuously monitor credit is important to resume success. If the government could not access the credit records of people who had taken the personal security measure of freezing their credit reports, there would be a big gap in the success of the resume program. With 100% of all DoD Clearance Holders on CV and full implementation on the horizon, the 2018 FIS Update is a key stepping stone to help Trusted Workforce 2.0 take shape.

If in doubt, ask your security guard

Your security officer should be able to clarify any questions you have when completing the SF-86, including any discrepancies between the paper version and what you can complete online. But if your security officer directs you to release your credit report, then FIN and current clearance policies clearly state that this is not necessary. It’s certainly possible that your employer will ask you to unfreeze your credit report for another reason, but a requirement for the security clearance process shouldn’t be part of it.

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