If you are deep in debt and struggling to make ends meet, you may benefit from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 has the power to erase credit card debts, medical debts, and other unsecured debts. Further, most people who file for Chapter 7 are able to keep most or all of their belongings, including their car.
But do you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy? There is a bankruptcy myth that people with high incomes cannot qualify for bankruptcy. The truth is, even people with high incomes are able to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief.
Your Income & Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Here’s what you need to know about your income and qualifying for Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
- If your income is below the median income for your state and household size, then you automatically qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- If your income is above the median income for your state and household size, then you must run the means test to determine whether or not you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Median Income in Georgia
As of May 1, 2017, the median household income in Georgia is:
- Household of One: $43,274
- Household of Two: $56,301
- Household of Three: $62,483
- Household of Four: $73,202
- Households of more than four: add $8,400 for each individual in excess of four.
If you live in Georgia and your gross household income is above these figures, then you must run the means test to determine if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief. In you live outside of Georgia, you can find your state’s median income here.
The Means Test
Having a high income does not mean you cannot qualify for bankruptcy, it simply means that you have to run the means test to show that you qualify. The means test is a review of your income minus allowable expenses.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Code defines how to calculate income for purposes of bankruptcy. The presumption is that your ability to pay back your debts in the future should be determined by your average income over the past 6-months. Though, this calculation using a 6-month look back period does not account for your present circumstances, including recent decreases in your income.
The means test calculation of income is your average income for the past 6-months. The calculation must include all income that you receive, with the exclusion of the following benefits: social security benefits, payments to victims of war crimes or crimes against humanity, and payments to victims of international terrorism or domestic terrorism.
Means Test Calculation
The means test calculation considers your income minus allowable expenses.
The allowable expenses in the means test are calculated based on a mix of your actual expenses and standard pre-determined expenses. You can explore the official means test form here. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you navigate through the means test.
Qualifying to Have Your Debts Erased Through Bankruptcy
Certainly the means test makes qualifying for Chapter 7 bankruptcy more difficult; however, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you navigate the means test and qualify for the debt relief you deserve.
We are here to help you determine if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We offer free consultations to anyone in Savannah, GA and all of the surrounding counties including Chatham County, Effingham County, Bulloch County, Bryan County, Liberty County, Long County.
Reach out to us by email at info@BrazielLaw.com or call (912) 351-9000.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.