Do any of the US Armed Forces turn down applicants due to bad credit?

I know someone who says they tried to join the Army and they wouldn’t take him because his credit was bad, and that they would take him if he improved his credit rating.

Is there any truth to this? I’ve never heard of such a thing.

If heard of this. I don’t know anyone personally who was denied enlistment because of it. I’m betting it would have to be pretty bad. Basically, his debt would have to be such that the Army does not feel he could pay it all off while being paid at his grade and support himself at the same time. Once he’s caught up, they will let him enlist. Im sure he wouldnt even have to be totally caught up. Just enough that he could finish paying it all off at his pay grade.
I can also say that credit is always a big deal in the military. Senior NCOs are always making sure our financial situation is in order. Especially before leaving to the field for prolonged periods. They see credit problems as a cause of undue stress.
Someone who is just enlisting will be away for at least 8 weeks before he will be able to take care of financial problems. So he’ll spend his time at BASIC worrying about his bills n stuff instead of concentrating on his training. (Or at least thats how the Army looks at it.)
I have known of a couple guys who were denied their Security Clearance because of unpaid debt. It must be pretty bad, because my credit sucks ass and I had no problem getting a clearance. These people were given the clearance just as soon as the debts were paid.

Financial irresponsibility is taken pretty seriously. The denial of service entry is most likely true. Once in, it can affect your clearance eligibility, advancement or promotion, and if bad enough, can get you thrown out of the service. I’ve had to help show one lass the door, this partially the reason.

For starters, it is a poor reflection of the service you represent, to have creditors after you all the time. It is a burden commands really shouldn’t be dealing with. Also, you become a security risk. The idea being, those in financial straits would be easy to bribe, thus the reason for clearance eligibility problems.

The services have always had very discriminatory entry policies, mostly for good reason.

Fiscal irresponsibility can indicate a security risk. It certainly indicates questionable judgement, another factor in assigning some sensitive billets. Back when I was on the bag and putting Butts On The Bus, credit references were only sometimes investigated, and then only for such jobs as had high inherent security clearances, such as (not limited to) cryptotech or radioman.

More often we’d turn an applicant down because enisting him or her would present too serious a financial hardship to the applicant. We’re not in the business of putting people directly onto foodstamps & WIC just to fill a slot.

One of the items in every package I ever filled out on an applicant was a financial analysis, to determine if an applicant was going to be able to pay their bills and feed their family (if they had one) should they sign up, pass their test(s), and pass medical. If the answer was “trouble,” they didn’t get floored. Period. And no, my Zone Sup wasn’t a nice guy with a kind heart. He was a numbers-grubbing SOB, but even he wouldn’t let us floor someone with a bad financial sheet: They were far too likely to come back and haunt us.

In the case of a job with high security clearance, and an applicant with crap credit, we’d try and see why their credit was bad, and see if it was waiverable, or repairable. The kinds of jobs that take a clearance where crediti-worthiness is important are generally hard to fill. So, we get the kid into the program if possible, by working with them. If they can’t get the problem fixe, we see if we can sell them on a different, less sensitive job. If that fails, they attrite, and the recruiter responsible has to go find a replacement applicant, and get them qualified.

Needless to say, this is a bad thing for the recruiter (and the kid who just lost-out on a plum assignment), and recruiters try like mad to avoid such instances. So, there’s a high incentive to not pursue applicants with bad credit.

I assume part of the security risk would be, well, bribery? If you’re making a private’s salary and carrying 1 billion dollars in debt, you may be inclined to take money and not ask questions, right?

That’s part of the theory. Another part of it is that a bad credit risk is probably undisciplined in their records-keeping, thus present more of a risk of unintentionally losing control of classified material through sheer slopiness. Oh, and of course, exhibited bad judgement, in many cases.

There are of course, always exceptions.

Hmm. I also wonder if a person would not be drafted (assuming there is a draft situation) if they have very bad credit…

No, if it were a draft situation (not bloodly likely any time soon!), the at-risk draftee would simply be given a lower-security job.

No, they will not turn you down specifically for ‘bad credit’.

If you are in debt however, it may be a different story as mentioned above. You do not have to be in debt to have bad credit and vice versa…