For those who need convincing regarding the importance of the Standard Form 86, look at what happened in the White House in February when six employees lost their positions after failing the questionnaire.

Among the six who lost their jobs were Director of Scheduling Caroline Wiles and Chief Digital Officer Gerrit Lansing.

Wiles, who resigned prior to the questionnaire’s results, was expected to get another job in the Treasury Department, according to Politico.

Lansing’s official file states that he left on his own accord Feb. 9, but sources told Politico that the issue on his SF-86 related to investments.

Security escorted some of the staffers out of the building, according to the Washington Examiner.

Also referred to as the Electronic Questionnaire for Investigation Processing, the SF-86 helps the government determine security clearance eligibility for government applicants and employees, active military personnel, contractors, and employees who work in the private sector but are in government-regulated positions. The questionnaire asks for information about a person’s credit score, substance use and a variety of personal subjects.

Clearances are granted to those who pass the SF-86 when there is a demonstrated need to access classified information, according to the Office of Personnel Management. Your employer determines the level of clearance needed for your position.

Top Reasons for Clearance Denial

The primary reason applicants were denied security clearance in 2016 related to financial issues, according to ClearanceJobs.com. Distantly behind finances was personal conduct (Guideline E of the Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information), drug involvement (Guideline H), foreign influence (Guideline B) and foreign preference (Guideline C).

Increase Your Chance of Security Clearance Approval

One challenge with the SF-86 is that it asks a great deal of information that you likely can’t readily recall. We recommend getting a copy of the SF-86 so you can familiarize yourself with the information you will need to gather.

Because finances are the most common reason for denial, consider pulling a credit report. This way, you can be assured that your answers to those related questions are accurate.

Don’t leave SF-86 questions blank, particularly when it comes to your employment history and police record. You can’t assume that you’ll get to correct those omissions during an interview.

A Professional Can Help with Your SF-86

Would you like assistance in completing the SF-86? We can help. The information that you disclose or fail to disclose can trigger a denial or revocation of your clearance.

We provide pre-clearance counseling and help you complete the SF-86. We also offer guidance in addressing and mitigating potentially disqualifying information to increase your chances of obtaining an interim clearance.

Finally, we can help you prepare for your formal interview with an investigator. Please call today to schedule a consultation.