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Major Catch 22: Bad Credit Reports and Unemployment

2013/03/11 by editor

If you want to see the quintessential Catch 22 at work, I dare you to take a look at those consumers who became buried in debt during the recession–perhaps losing a job, a house, or both–but are now attempting to turn their financial situation around by obtaining employment, and are denied the opportunity because of their low credit score. It’s a vicious cycle, you see, because now the people who need the jobs most, to dig out of debt and get securely back on their feet, are unable to do so because of their difficult financial situation. I’m not seven sure why employers started checking the credit of potential new-hires in the first place, but all I do know ifs that it’s fairly standard policy and that it’s preventing decent, worthy and responsible people from earning their keep. This recent story in the Huffington Post really got to me. It’s about a man who served in the U.S. military for 30 years, and yet when he applied for a job in an airport two years ago, he was cited as a “potential security risk” because of a mark he’d wrongly received on his credit report. Read Saki Knafo of the Huffington Post’s article to see the very real ways that credit scores and reports are holding perfectly decent citizens back from work:

“Emmett Pinkston served in the military for 30 years, first in the Marines, then in the Air Force, then in the Army. He helped coordinate security for President George W. Bush during the G8 Summit on Sea Island, Ga., in 2004, and worked as an intelligence analyst in Iraq from 2005 to 2007, some of the deadliest years of the war.

But when he tried to get a job as an airport security worker in 2011, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration turned him down, citing a credit report that showed him $8,000 in debt. To Pinkston’s disbelief, the TSA described him as a potential security risk.”

Click here to find out what became of Pinkston after his denial for work at the airport, and what happens to Americans every day whose credit is less than ideal when they apply for jobs.

Rep. Cohen, who I mentioned in my last post, is turning out to be quite a guy. He is behind a reform to prevent employers from checking the credit of potential new employees unless the jobs they are applying for specifically have to do with finance or accounting. Bless his heart, both this legislation and the one to add credit scores to free credit reports will get approved! Get behind these movements, guys!


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