PSH-20-0052 - In the Matter of Personnel Security Hearing

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On January 4, 2021, an OHA Administrative Judge (AJ) issued a decision in which she determined that an Individual's DOE access authorization should not be granted. The Individual is employed by a DOE contractor.  To support the Guideline F security concerns, the LSO alleged that the Individual had not filed his Federal or state income tax returns for tax years 2013 to 2018; the Individual has an unpaid charge-off account in the amount of $5263; and the Individual has additional unpaid collection accounts totaling $11,876 for debts owed to four separate creditors and five medical collections.

At the hearing, the Individual presented evidence and witness testimony reflecting that he successfully worked with a tax preparer to file his federal and state tax returns. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had accepted his proposal for a monthly payment agreement, however, it was still processing the remaining tax returns such that the installment agreement   did not yet include all of his outstanding tax balance. The Individual testified that he not made any payment arrangements with the state tax authority concerning his outstanding state taxes and had yet to make any payments to the IRS or state tax authority toward his approximately $36,412 overdue tax bill. The Individual testified that he had mitigated the security concerns regarding his other outstanding delinquent debts by initiating discussions with his creditors to make payment agreements and by informing his daughters that he will no longer be able to  provide them with as much financial assistance due to his priority of paying his outstanding debts. He asserted that his financial problems began 22 years ago when his wife passed away   and he was left to raise his two daughters as a single parent with no outside resources. He   further stated that his financial hardship continued because his previous jobs did not provide sufficient funds to pay for the needs of his daughters while simultaneously paying his debts. However, despite the fact that his daughters are both adults, he continues to provide them with approximately $1000 total every month, including providing funds for monthly rent and  food expenses for the past decade for his oldest daughter.

The AJ found that while the Individual had taken positive actions to improve his financial situation, he is still early in the process of reformation at this time. He delayed addressing his    tax obligations and outstanding debts until he was forced to address these issues in his QNSPS and LOI. Moreover, he did not submit evidence of any payments he had made for any of his outstanding debts. He also indicated that even with the increased salary of his current job, he has not been able to set aside any funds to pay his debts because he is still   paying for his daughters' expenses. Moreover, he admitted that he does not know the exact amount of his total monthly payments because he is still working out the details with his creditors. Accordingly, the AJ found that the Individual did not provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that he has resolved the security concerns raised under Guideline F, and therefore found that the Individual's access authorization should not be granted at this time. OHA Case No. PSH 20-0052 (Kimberly Jenkins-Chapman).