Anyone won the Powerball?

  • Published
  • By Col. Mark D. Vijums
  • 934th Airlift Wing vice commander
Did you hear that I almost won the Powerball? I just needed five more numbers. Wouldn't that be nice to win the lottery? No more financial concerns. What would you do? Some would probably quit their job some would still work or perhaps take up some other kind of work. Who would you give money to? OK, it's time to snap out of it. You didn't win, sorry.

There's probably not one of us who hasn't in some way, shape or form felt the impact of this latest economic downturn. If you're like me, no matter what I had squirreled away took a big hit. I'm fortunate, I still have both of my jobs; one here at the 934th Airlift Wing and the other at Delta Air Lines. Despite the best intentions of employers, some individuals who deployed didn't have a job to come back to because the company shut down. Others got caught up in the mortgage mess and lost their homes. The aftermath hasn't ceased and will continue to strike.

Here at the 934th AW, we see the effects also. The hardest hit area is security clearances. Every time a security clearance comes up for review, a credit check is run through all three credit report agencies.
More and more, we've seen unpaid bills and liens posted on these credit reports. Mounting debts tend to steer individuals to readily available sources of income sometimes found through illegal means. This ultimately threatens the security conscious of the individual in question. Not good if they're a member of the military and an integral part of national security.

When someone is in financial trouble and they're up for a security clearance renewal, the first step is to deny network rights dependant on the case. There aren't many jobs here on base that can be accomplished without computer access. Sometimes this step involves removing the individual from the work area itself. Ouch. Ultimately, the goal is to get the member back on their feet with a financial plan. There are plenty of solutions.
First, there are numerous free financial counseling services available to help formulate a debt free plan. Airmen and Family Readiness is a good source for those contacts including John Peterson in Security Forces building. Also, AFR has a limited amount of financial assistance for emergency situations when the cash isn't there. Military One Source also has numerous avenues available for financial assistance.

Above all, make sure your first sergeant or commander knows of the situation. We've all been there, and most of the time I've found the situation can be remedied from within the unit. We all need a leg up once in awhile.