On November 1, 2010, the bankruptcy “means test” changes due to changes in the U.S. Census Bureau’s average income totals. The means test in bankruptcy is that portion on the petition in which you must enter your household income totals for the past six months. Your monthly income is then compared to the average monthly income in the State in which you reside. Moreover, this depends on the number of people residing in your household.
So, what are the current Pennsylvania income amounts? Up until October 31, 2010, for a household of one, the average annual gross income is $44,396; a household of two is $53,572; a household of three is $67,516 and for four, it’s $77,590.
If your case is filed after November 1, 2010, then the income amounts are as follows: household of one–$44,172; household of two–$52,839; household of three–$66,030, and household of four, $78,626.
So, if your household has only one, two or three persons, then you may want to file your bankruptcy case immediately. On the other hand, if you have four or more persons in your household, then you may want to wait until after November lst to file your case. It stands to reason that the recession has caused many Pennsylvania families have lost income in the past months.
Generally, if your gross household income is below those amounts for the past six months, then your chances of being eligible for a Chapter 7 case are very good. These income amounts also have a relationship in a Chapter 13 filing as well. If your average family income is above those income amounts, then you are required to complete a long “means test” questionnaire detailing your income and expenses. If you are above the median income amounts, you are also required to file a five-year Chapter 13 plan rather than three years.
If you have any questions about Chapter 7 eligibility or the means test, let me know.