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Investigations FAQs

  • The United States Government does not discriminate in employment.  The hiring process we use is merit based, and relies on open competition following public notice of the positions we are filling.  Should you apply for a job on USAJobs.gov, your qualifications and application materials will be evaluated.  Qualified candidates will be compiled on a list and forwarded to a hiring manager for further review.  Your financial situation would not come into play at this stage of hiring. Some positions will require a background investigation to determine your suitability for Federal employment or your eligibility for a security clearance.  The scope of the investigation will vary, depending on the nature of the position and the degree of harm that an individual in that position could cause.  This is determined by the hiring Federal agency.  In some instances, your hiring will be contingent upon completion and favorable adjudication of a background investigation.  It is at the background investigation stage that your financial situation would be considered. Adjudicators use what is called the “whole person” concept to evaluate a person.  Any potentially 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 a person. Financial situations in your life will not necessarily impact your ability to obtain a Federal job.  We encourage you to apply for any positions in which you are interested.    
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  • Congress, through statutes, the President, through executive orders, and the agencies charged with carrying out these laws and orders have required this process. There is, generally, no requirement for private employers to use the same guidelines as public employers. Of course, if your brother's job with the private employer required him to have access to classified national security information as a contractor to the Federal government, even your brother would have to be investigated.
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  • The RSI is not a background or criminal investigation. RSIs are focused investigations to obtain information to resolve issues developed about an individual. An agency may request an RSI when it needs additional investigation to resolve issues that might fall outside the normal scope of another investigation (such as alcohol or drug rehabilitation or credit); to establish a history or pattern of behavior; or to obtain other information related to suitability or security which is not necessarily connected to a current background investigation. The cost of the RSI varies depending on the work to be performed; expedited service is available at an additional cost. A representative of OPM-FIS will contact the agency prior to scheduling the investigation to provide a cost estimate. To initiate an RSI, the agency needs only to submit a letter or memo to OPM-FIS Customer Interface. Customer Interface processes agency requests to reopen investigations and conduct a Reimbursable Suitability Investigation (RSI). Agencies may submit their requests via fax (724) 738-0178, or mail: OPM-FIPC Customer Interface PO BOX 618 1137 Branchton Rd. Boyers, PA 16018-0618 If you have a question about a reopen or RSI, please call the Telephone Liaisons at (724) 794-5228. Reopen or RSI requests must be typed on agency letterhead and contain the following:
    • Security Office Identifier (SOI)
    • Submitting Office Number (SON)
    • Interagency Payment and Collection Code (IPAC)
    • Subject's current location and phone number
    • Clear description of the work being requested in the reopen or RSI
    • Name, phone number, and email address of the individual submitting the request
    For more information about RSIs, see the Federal Investigation Notices, Letter No. 97-2, dated July 29, 1997, and Letter No. 93-4, dated June 14, 1993; or, call SAST (724) 794-5612, extension 4600.
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  •   Agents do not need to be licensed private investigators. All agents working under this contract must meet the training requirements, qualifications, and the security/fitness requirements outlined in the contract.
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  • Individuals can verify the status of an OPM investigator by contacting FIS Security and Safety Team at 888/795-5673 or fissst@opm.gov.  
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  • You may go to a police station to be fingerprinted. In most instances, however, the agency requiring the investigation and clearance will fingerprint you.
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  • Suitability determinations are made on a case by case basis for covered positions in accordance with title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, part 731.  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, employees in the excepted service, or contractors.
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  • No. It will neither hurt nor help your chances.
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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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  • The Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Investigative Services is currently developing and offering, on a pilot basis, a course entitled the Fundamentals of Suitability Review and Adjudication.    This course is directed toward Federal employees from Executive Branch agencies who perform work as suitability adjudicators or have a suitability screening and adjudication review type function.  The purpose of this course is to equip suitability adjudicators with the necessary tools and knowledge of the suitability review and adjudication processes outlined in title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, part 731 and the Suitability Processing Handbook, thereby enabling them to evaluate and adjudicate a person's suitability for Federal employment.  Attendees must be Federal employees who have been issued a copy of the Suitability Processing Handbook by the designated agency official.    Another option for suitability adjudication training is the USDA Graduate School’s Suitability Adjudication Course.  Information concerning this course can be found at this website:  www.graduateschool.edu.   OPM originally developed this course and has approved its content.  This course is open only to Federal employees, and the individual must also have a copy of OPM's Suitability Processing Handbook to attend the class.
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Total Count: 69, Number of Pages: 7, Page: 4
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