BANKRUPTCY WHILE SERVING IN THE MILITARY
Many members of the Military believe that filing for bankruptcy will negatively affect their ability to serve this country. While it is true that filing for bankruptcy can impact your security clearance, it is not guaranteed and specific review into your personal circumstances should be completed by a licensed bankruptcy attorney. The government wants members of our Military to demonstrate fiscal responsibility, but life happens to everyone, including members of the Military.
For example, while Military members have excellent health insurance available to them and their families, even with insurance, the costs involved with medical care can be overwhelming. Should a Military member need to file for bankruptcy as a result of medical debt, the Military member’s security clearance is not likely to be negatively impacted.
The issues that will likely negatively affect a security clearance would be those connected to a criminal conviction or history of reckless behavior, such as a DUI, overspending, or gambling. However, significant, unresolved debt, without filing for bankruptcy, can also affect a security clearance because it puts you at greater risk of engaging in inappropriate choices in order to get out of debt. The Military is chiefly concerned that Military members in significant debt are potentially susceptible to accepting bribes connected to their Military service.
Prior to filing for bankruptcy, you can seek help for debt management. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service has an online portal that can provide assistance to Military personnel. Some bases also provide the option of meeting with civilian financial advisers. If you are struggling with significant debt, a bankruptcy attorney can assist you with deciding if bankruptcy is an appropriate option for you.
Amanda Kendzora is an attorney in Borton Petrini, LLP’s Fresno Office. She primarily practices in Family Law and Bankruptcy Law.
Legal Disclaimer: This article is designed for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Each person’s situation is unique and requires as individual analysis as to the application of the law.