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Being denied a security clearance can be a serious issue for military personnel. As a result, it can be helpful to understand the reasons why security clearance may be denied so that they can be addressed. The security process is lengthy and involves a thorough background investigation. A denial of a security clearance can occur for different reasons, including financial concerns, mental health concerns or criminal conduct.

Any significant financial concerns, such as a significant amount of debt, missed financial payments, tax evasion, embezzlement, collection judgments, check fraud, foreclosures or bankruptcies, may result in a security clearance being denied. Gambling issues may also result in an application for a security clearance being rejected. When reviewing the background of an applicant for a security clearance, the applicant’s complete financial picture is considered.

In addition, personal issues such as mental health issues can also impact a security clearance. Behavior that is violent, unstable, irresponsible or paranoid may create concerns related to an application for security clearance. A background investigation for a security clearance also includes interviews with relatives, friends, business associates and if the applicant has any known relationships with criminals. Criminal activity can disqualify a security clearance application.

Likewise, alcoholism or drug use may also result in a security clearance being denied and considerations related to domestic violence or other indicators of alcohol abuse are considered as part of the background investigation. Because of the importance of obtaining a security clearance for many military personnel, it is helpful to understand the security clearance background investigation process and the factors that are considered when granting a security clearance.

Source:, “Things That Get Your Top Secret Clearance Denied,” Jill Leviticus, Feb. 14, 2018