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Investigations FAQs

  • Not necessarily. Any negative information is evaluated regarding its recency, seriousness, relevance to the position and duties, and in light of, and in relationship to, all other information about you.
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  • The Office of Personnel Management has no procedure for an individual to independently apply for an investigation, positions maintained by contractor, or security clearance. Clearances are based on investigations requested by Federal agencies, appropriate to specific positions and their duties. Until a person is offered such a position, the government will not request or pay for an investigation for a clearance. Once a person has been offered a job (contingent upon satisfactory completion of an investigation), the government will require the person to complete a Standard Form 86, Questionnaire for National Security Positions, initiate the investigation, adjudicate the results, and issue the appropriate clearance. We know that some Defense Department contractors require applicants to already have a clearance, and they have the right to administer their personnel hiring procedures the way they want as long as they don't discriminate based on prohibited factors (such as race or religion). Persons who already have clearances are those who are already employed by a government contractor (or by the government itself) and are looking for other job opportunities.
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  • Yes. Background Investigators are required to identify, locate, and interview a sufficient number of people who know you well. We want a balanced and unbiased investigation. It would be a questionable investigative practice to only interview persons whom the individual being investigated identified for us.
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  • Yes. A search of the records of commercial credit reporting agencies is an integral part of almost all background investigations.
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  • If a material, intentional falsification, or deception or fraud issue is developed during an OPM investigation, we will contact the agency to coordinate the adjudication. We may assume jurisdiction after discussing the case with the agency. If an agency feels an OPM investigation developed a material, intentional falsification, or deception or fraud issue that should have been adjudicated by OPM but was not, it may contact SAB to request a second review of the case.
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  • Suitability determinations are made on a case by case basis in accordance with part 731 of title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, for covered positions that are subject to investigation.  Covered positions are those in the competitive Federal service, those in the excepted service that noncompetitively convert to the competitive service, or career appointments to positions in the Senior Executive Service.  This regulation does not apply to military personnel, positions in the excepted service other than those subject to suitability, or contractors.    A felony conviction does not automatically make one unsuitable for Federal employment.  When making a suitability determination, an agency will evaluate the individual’s character traits and decide whether their employment or continued employment would or would not protect the integrity or promote the efficiency of the service.  The factors that may form the basis for finding a person unsuitable can be found under 5 CFR 731.202(b) and include criminal or dishonest conduct.  To the extent deemed pertinent to an individual’s case, the agency making the determination must give consideration to the additional considerations found under 5 CFR 731.202(c) which include things like the nature of the position for which the person is applying, the circumstances surrounding the conduct, the recency of the conduct, and the absence or presence of rehabilitation. 
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  • Not necessarily. Any negative information is evaluated regarding its recency, seriousness, relevance to the position and duties, and in light of, and in relationship to, all other information about you.
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  • Agencies must submit requests to OPM for Governmentwide debarment consideration in any case warranting a debarment from all covered positions.3. What should I do if I discover falsification or deception or fraud in examination or appointment is identified? Agencies should closely review all application material (such as the OF 612, résumé, OF 306), or the results of any completed background investigation, for indications of material and intentional falsification, or deception or fraud. This may relate to responses to the suitability questions or to qualifications, diploma mill degrees, or other types of merit system fraud. Agencies must refer the case to SAB when it involves the examination or appointment process (initial appointment or reinstatement to a covered position). OPM may exercise its jurisdiction and take a removal and/or debarment action, or coordinate adjudication with the agency if the agency wishes to take action.
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  • It is a requirement of a background investigation, and actual employment, that your current employer be contacted. We must verify your employment data and make other inquiries concerning your background. If you are a Federal employee or contractor, for example, it may be that your current employer needs you to have a security clearance for the work you do. In other instances, you are asked to complete the investigative form for an investigation and clearance only after a conditional offer of employment has been made for a position requiring a security clearance.
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  • Agencies should closely review all application material (such as the OF 612, résumé, OF 306), or the results of any completed background investigation, for indications of material and intentional falsification, or deception or fraud. This may relate to responses to the suitability questions or to qualifications, diploma mill degrees, or other types of merit system fraud. Agencies must refer the case to SAB when it involves the examination or appointment process (initial appointment or reinstatement to a covered position). OPM may exercise its jurisdiction and take a removal and/or debarment action, or coordinate adjudication with the agency if the agency wishes to take action.
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Total Count: 69, Number of Pages: 7, Page: 2
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