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Suitability Executive Agent Suitability Adjudications

 

Overview

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 OPM's SuitEA, 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) 738-1190, extension 7400.

The Suitability Adjudications office also handles requests to pass over preference eligible with a 30% or more compensable disability when the referral is for reasons based on conduct.  This office also handles requests to object to an Administrative Law Judge applicant when the basis is conduct.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Information Requirements for Suitability Referrals to OPM

How to make:

  • Referrals for Applicant Suitability Review
  • Referrals Based on Agency-Conducted Investigations
  • Referrals on OPM Conducted Investigations
  • Requests Based upon Conduct to Pass over a Preference Eligble with a 30% or More Compensable Disability or to object to an Administrative Law Judge applicant

Referral Guidelines

Information Requirements for Suitability Referrals to OPM

  1. Referrals for Applicant Suitability Review
  2. Referrals of Agency Conducted Investigations
  3. Referrals of OPM Conducted Investigations
  4. Passover or Objection Requests Based on Conduct (CPS eligible or Administrative Law Judge applicants)

Referrals Prior to Background Investigation and Referrals Based on Agency-Conducted Investigations

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:

  • There is evidence of material1, intentional falsification, or deception or fraud in examination or appointment;
  • There is evidence of refusal to furnish testimony as required by 5 CFR 5.4; and/or
  • A potential Governmentwide debarment is indicated

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 724-738-1190 ext. 7400.

The following information must be submitted with the referral:

  • A completed INV 60, Request for Determination or Advisory OR a statement outlining the basis for the referral.  The referring official’s contact information and SOI/SON must be included with the submission.  (Note: The referral cannot be based upon information that was obtained solely from a confidential source.)
  • The subject's application, OF 306, and related papers (including supplements, amendments, and attachments to forms), including any documentation either provided by the subject or obtained by the agency that specifically relates to and/or supports the issues and establishes the basis for the referral (i.e., evidence of the matter falsified, details establishing the conduct potentially warranting government-wide debarment from all or specific positions, etc.).  
  • Permission to confront the subject with the information from your agency-conducted investigation and to directly release the information to the subject upon his/her request and/or to all necessary parties in the event of an appeal of an unfavorable suitability action to the Merit Systems Protection Board (only applies to agencies with delegated investigative authority).
  • Information to establish the position is covered (i.e. legal hiring authority, etc.), involves an appointment that is subject-to-investigation per 5 CFR 731.104, and if the subject has been appointed, the appointment SF 50.

Questions regarding referrals can be directed to 724-738-1190 ext 7400. Referrals can be submitted via the NP2 secure portal, fax, or mail as follows:

NP2 Secure Portal

Using the secure messaging feature on the OPM Secure Portal, send the required information high priority 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 Agency Liaison at the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA).

Fax

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 724-738-1190, ext. 7400 prior to faxing and request confirmation of receipt.

Mail

Send to:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Suitability Executive Agent Programs - Operations (Adjudications)
PO Box 699
Slippery Rock, PA 16057

Referrals Based on Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (formerly NBIB)-Conducted Investigations

If an agency receives the results of a background 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 request OPM’s Adjudications office to evaluate the issues and consider assuming jurisdiction. To make a referral, please submit the following information:

  • Contact information for the requestor
  • Case serial number (CSN) and last name of the subject of the investigation
  • Information to establish the position is covered (i.e. legal hiring authority) and involves an appointment that is subject-to-investigation per 5 CFR 731.104. (If the person has been appointed, please also submit the initial appointment SF 50)
  • A description of the suitability issues potentially warranting OPM’s involvement
  • Any additional documentation or application materials not originally submitted with the background investigation request and/or that support the presence of suitability issues

Questions regarding suitability referrals can be directed to 724-738-1190 ext. 7400. Referrals can be submitted via the NP2 secure portal, fax, or mail, as follows:

NP2 Secure Portal:

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 a member and would like information on how to become one, please contact your agency point of contact or your Agency Liaison at the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) at 724-794-5612.)

Fax:

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 724-738-1190, ext. 7400 prior to faxing and request confirmation of receipt.)

Mail:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Suitability Executive Agent Programs - Operations (Adjudications)
PO Box 699
Slippery Rock, PA 16057

General Questions

To discuss/seek advice on a specific case or for general questions related to suitability adjudication matters, agency representatives can contact (724) 738-1190, extension 7400.

Requests to Pass Over a CPS Preference Eligible or Object to an Administrative Law Judge Applicant Based on Conduct

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) and objections to Administrative Law Judge applicants must be referred to OPM. Requests to pass over a preference eligible or object to an Administrative Law Judge applicant for reasons based on conduct are handled by the SuitEA Suitability Adjudications office. When submitting these requests, the agency must complete and provide:

  • an SF 62, INV 60 and any supporting documentation. Position sensitivity and risk level must be shown on the INV 60;
  • a copy of the certificate of eligibles that shows non-preference eligibles are within reach, as applicable; and 
  • a copy of the letter sent to the preference eligible notifying him/her of the request and  the reason for it and of the right to respond to the Office of Personnel Management within 15 days in accordance with 5 USC 3318(b)(2).

NOTE: The request may only be sustained if it is based on proper and adequate reasons. The request cannot be based upon information obtained solely from a confidential source.

Please refer all requests to:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management
Suitability Executive Agent Programs - Operations (Adjudications)
PO Box 699
Slippery Rock, PA 16057

Questions can be directed to 724-738-1190, 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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