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Can I Join the Military with a Recent Bankruptcy Filing?

One common worry among people struggling with debt and considering a military career is the question of whether those with recent personal bankruptcy filings are eligible for military service.

Here's a look at some of the restrictions the military has in place concerning bankruptcy and service.

If you're interested in getting a detailed answer specific to your situation, speak with an official from the armed forces and/or a bankruptcy lawyer.

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Bankruptcy & Joining the Military

As with many questions about bankruptcy, the details about bankruptcy and military service vary greatly depending on what type of military career a person wants, what branch of the military a person hopes to serve in and other factors.

  • Can I join the armed forces after bankruptcy? It depends which arm of the military you're interested in joining. The Air Force may prevent bankruptcy filers from joining, but other branches (such as the Army) have fewer restrictions. Again, to be sure about your individual circumstances, consult with an official with the branch you're looking to join.
  • Will my military employment opportunities be limited after bankruptcy? Possibly. Some military jobs require security clearance and it may be difficult to get that clearance with a recent bankruptcy filing. However, security clearance may also be difficult to get with serious debt, so potential filers may not want to rule out bankruptcy solely in hopes of getting clearance. Other employment options, though, should not be limited by bankruptcy.
  • Can the military help ease my debt? Possibly. There are laws that restrict interest rates that certain creditors can charge to members of the military. Anyone considering both filing for bankruptcy and joining the military should consider consulting with a bankruptcy lawyer to determine whether filing before or after joining would make the most sense.

Where Can I Learn More about Bankruptcy and the Military?

Anyone interested in learning about the details of bankruptcy action and potential military service should take steps to contact both someone familiar with bankruptcy law (such as a bankruptcy attorney) and someone familiar with military policy (such as a recruiter).