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Under title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, part 731 (5 CFR 731) OPM and agencies with delegated authority, can make suitability determinations and take suitability actions in cases involving covered positions that are subject to investigation. Positions covered by 5 CFR 731 are those in the competitive service, those in the excepted service where the incumbent can be noncompetitively converted to the competitive service, or a career appointment to the Senior Executive Service. The subject to investigation requirements are described at 5 CFR 731.104. Under 5 CFR 731, if an unfavorable suitability determination is made, the following actions may be applicable: cancellation of eligibility; removal; cancellation of reinstatement eligibility; and debarment.
The Suitability Adjudications office of the OPM Federal Investigative Services, handles those cases in which OPM has retained jurisdiction to make a suitability determination and take a suitability action. The office is also available to assist agencies with matters related to suitability adjudications. Our phone number is (724) 794-5612, extension 7400.
Information Requirements for Suitability Referrals to OPM
How to make:
Suitability Referral Chart – Agencies may use this chart to determine which issues or combinations of issues warrant referral to the agency adjudications office for suitability review, adjudication, and potential agency debarment or referral to OPM for debarment consideration.
Cases involving covered positions (as defined in 5 CFR 731) made subject to investigation by 5 CFR 731.104, to include cases of individuals investigated by agencies with delegated investigative authority, must be referred to OPM as follows:
1 The definition of “material” is capable of influencing, affects, or has a natural tendency to affect, an official decision even if OPM or an agency does not rely upon it.
NOTE: In cases involving falsification, deception or fraud, or refusal to furnish testimony, agencies can elect to proceed with an action under a different authority without prior approval by OPM; however, notification of the case to OPM is required. The notification to OPM can be made by calling 724-794-5612 ext. 7400.
The following information must be submitted with the referral:
Questions regarding referrals can be directed to 724-794-5612 ext 7400. Referrals can be submitted via the secure portal, fax, or mail as follows:
Using the secure messaging feature on the OPM Secure Portal, send the required information high priority with external notifications to the Suitability Referrals mailbox.
NOTE: You must be a member of the secure portal to use this submission method. If you are not member and would like information on how to become one, please contact your agency point of contact or your OPM Liaison.
Fax the required information to 724-794-9498.
NOTE: This is not a secure line; therefore, to ensure personally identifiable information is properly protected, please contact OPM by phone at 724-794-5612, ext. 7400 prior to faxing and request confirmation of receipt.
OPM-FIS Attn: NACI & Agency Referral Adjudications PO Box 6181137 Branchton RoadBoyers, PA 16018-0618
An expedited request is made when there are limited vacancies to be filled with no further appointments anticipated in the near future or when there will be no further employment opportunities as a result of immediate certification. When submitting expedited requests meeting this criteria, the INV 60 should be prominently marked "EXPEDITED REQUEST - SPECIAL HANDLING." Include the name and telephone number of the requesting official, so that he/she can be notified of OPM's decision.
If an agency receives the results of an OPM conducted investigation in which there are issues that meet the criteria for OPM adjudication under 5 CFR 731 and OPM has not made contact to coordinate adjudication, the agency should call 724-794-5612 ext. 7400 to discuss referring the case to OPM for possible adjudication. If it is determined OPM will assume jurisdiction to adjudicate we will need copies of any application materials not originally submitted with the background investigation request, information to support the position is one covered by 5 CFR 731, and any additional information the agency may have relevant to possible adjudication of the case by OPM.
Agencies may request an advisory opinion from OPM on matters related to suitability adjudication. An advisory opinion may be obtained by submitting a written request to OPM-FIS,BAAO, P.O. Box 618, 1137 Branchton Road, Boyers, PA 16018-0618. The request must include the agency's Submitting Office Number (SON) and Security Office Indicator (SOI), if known, the specific question area, and any supporting information (such as forms completed or issue resolution investigation conducted).
For general questions on suitability adjudications matters or those on which the agency is not seeking a written advisory opinion, agency representatives can contact (724) 794-5612, extension 7400.
Per 5 USC 3318, an appointment official must request to pass over a preference eligible prior to selecting a non-preference eligible. Requests to pass over preference eligibles having compensable service-connected disabilities of 30 percent or more must be referred to OPM. Requests to pass over a preference eligible for reasons based on conduct are handled by the Federal Investigative Services, NACI & Agency Referral Adjudications branch. When submitting these requests, the objecting agency must complete and provide:
NOTE: The request cannot be based upon information obtained solely from a confidential source.
Please refer all requests to:
OPM-FIS NACI & Agency Referral Adjudications P.O. Box 6181137 Branchton Road Boyers, PA 16018-0618
Questions can be directed to 724-794-5612, extension 7400. For information on submitting a pass over request of a CPS preference eligible based upon qualifications or medical reasons, please refer to the SF 62 and the Delegated Examining Operations Handbook located on the OPM website.
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Agencies are responsible for identifying admitted and developed issues prior to appointment and may use the chart that follows, or develop their own more specific guidelines, to determine which issues or combinations of issues warrant referral to their agency’s adjudications office for suitability review and adjudication. The agency adjudication office is responsible for assessing the issues and determining which cases require referral to OPM for debarment consideration.
For any issues not shown on the chart, look for a similar issue or consult the agency's department or office responsible for adjudication for guidance on whether or not referral is necessary