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Schertz Chapter 7 Bankruptcy LawyerMost Americans owe debts in some form. While these debts are manageable in many cases, unexpected financial difficulties or other issues may make it difficult or impossible to repay the debts a person owes. Bankruptcy can offer debt relief in these cases, and for some debtors, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the ideal option, and it will allow most types of debts to be discharged after certain types of assets are liquidated. However, to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a person will need to pass a means test.

Income and Expenses Considered in the Means Test

The means test is meant to prevent abuse of the bankruptcy laws, and it limits the ability to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to those who have limited disposable income that would allow them to repay the debts they owe. The means test consists of two parts. The first part examines a person’s income and compares it to the median income in their state. A debtor will be required to report all sources of income, including their gross wages or salary, bonuses, commissions, income earned through businesses or real estate properties, unemployment compensation, and retirement/pension benefits. If the total amount of a debtor’s income is below the median income for their state, they will qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

In Texas, the median annual income for bankruptcy cases filed after May 15, 2021 is as follows:

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san antonio bankruptcy lawyerThe CARES Act’s March 27, 2021 deadline for excluding pandemic relief payments from the means test was extended by one year to March 27, 2022.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the CARES Act made some helpful temporary changes to consumer bankruptcy law. (See our blog post in March 2020 about this.) Those changes had expiration dates which have now passed. However, in the meantime, Congress passed two other laws which extended the changes. They are still temporary changes. As time passes, these consumer bankruptcy law changes and their new expiration dates continue to be important. Today we focus on one of these changes pertaining to the Chapter 7 means test. 

All Pandemic Relief Payments Excluded as Income for the Means Test

The point of this first change is to prevent the pandemic relief payments from disqualifying people from Chapter 7, “straight bankruptcy.” People could receive and spend their payments without jeopardizing their bankruptcy options. Here’s how it works. 

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Posted on in Chapter 7

Your Chapter 7 trustee may pay your priority debts—in full or in part—through the proceeds of the sale of your unprotected, not exempt assets.


Our last blog post was about what happens to priority debts in a no-asset Chapter 7 case. Most consumer “straight bankruptcy” Chapter 7 cases are no-asset ones. This means that the bankruptcy trustee does not take anything from the debtor because everything is protected, “exempt.” The trustee does not take and liquidate any assets, and has nothing—no assets—to distribute to the debtor’s creditors. That’s a no-asset Chapter 7 case.

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Posted on in Chapter 7

In a Chapter 7 case all or most “general unsecured debts” get “discharged”—legally written off. That’s one of the big benefits of Chapter 7.

Last time we said there are two kinds of unsecured debts, “priority” and “general unsecured”:

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Posted on in Chapter 7

Most people easily pass the means test based on their relatively low income. Timing plays a huge role in calculating your income.


The Means Test

To file and complete a Chapter 7 “straight bankruptcy” case you have to qualify for it. The main hurdle in qualifying is what’s called the “means test.” That is, to qualify for Chapter 7 you have to show that you don’t have too much “means.”

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210-342-3400

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