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What is the "means test" for bankruptcy?

Bethany, OK |

Our gross income before taxes and tithe is 61% of our unsecured debt, which is all credit card debt. It is 32% of our total debt including the secured debt which is our home. We will not include the mortgage in the debts we would want discharged.

We are both retired, but work part time. Our health will not let us keep working much longer. Maybe not until the end of this year, maybe another 4 years after this year. If we quit our jobs our income will be 39% of our unsecured debt.

Would we be fairly certain of securing discharge from the unsecured debt?

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Attorney answers 1


The "Means Test" is a form and calculation under the new Bankruptcy Code that compares your income and allowable expenses with IRS averages for your geographic area, to determine if your Bankruptcy filing would be an abuse under the BK Code or whether there would be no abuse. If no abuse, then you "pass" the means test. If you pass the means test, then you can file a Chapter 7 petition and would be more likely to be able to successfully discharge all of your unsecured debt.

You can get a rough idea if you would "pass" the means test by using a free means test calculator, such as the one at However, it would be best to consult with an experienced Bankruptcy attorney who could easily enter the basic dollar amounts for you and determine if you would pass or not. Often an attorney that offers free initial consultations might help you with this, to see in advance if you would qualify under the means test, before retaiining the attorney and proceeding with your Chapter 7 fling.