CloseWhat is the means test?

You may have read that the new bankruptcy law imposes a "means test" on who can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

You might think this new test will prevent you from filing. But, chances are, you're wrong. Most people considering bankruptcy have no trouble passing the means test. Indeed, some lawyers think more people will qualify for Chapter 7 under this test than under the old law, where judges had no fixed formula.

Use this calculator find out where you stand.

The Formula

The law now uses a standard mathematical formula to determine whether you can file for Chapter 7 -- or, to put it in legal terms, whether filing for Chapter 7 would be an 'abuse' of the bankruptcy system. (Those who fail the means test, are left with a Chapter 13 repayment plan as their only bankruptcy option.)

The means test is actually a two-part test and you only need to pass one of them to qualify for Chapter 7.

Test 1. "Median Income"
This is a very simple test that compares your average household income for the past six calendar months to the median income for your state, If your income is below the median, you qualify for Chapter 7. If it is above the median, you must pass Test 2.

Test 2. "Disposable Income"
This test deducts expenses from your income to determine how much you can pay your unsecured creditors over the next five years:

Certain deductions are standard allowances based on the number of vehicles you operate, the number of people in your household, and the cost of living in Pinellas County.

In addition, to these standard deductions, you can also deduct the full amount of certain actual expenses such as mortgage and vehicle loan payments.

Close

Close Do I need to complete the means test?

If you are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you do not need to complete the means test. However, you do need to complete a form almost identical to it — and that will determine how much you must pay in a Chapter 13 plan.

If you want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must at least complete the first part of the form to figure your "current monthly income" (CMI), which is based on your average income over the past six calendar months. That number will determine whether you must complete the rest of the form.

If your CMI is below the median income for Florida for a household your size, then you do not need to complete the means test.

If your CMI is higher than the median for Florida for a household your size, you must complete the means test to compute your monthly "disposable" income (that is, income minus expenses). The result of that computation will determine whether you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Close

Close How long does this take?

Using this calculator takes about 20 minutes. For some, the answer may be obvious after only a few questions.

Is it private?

This calculator is completely anonymous. We do not ask -- and no not want -- any personally identifying information linking you to these numbers, other than a zip code. We do keep statistical data on amounts that user have entered, so that the site may monitor the needs of its users and adjust services accordingly. However, To us, this is data for statistical analysis only. For more information. See the privacy notice.

Garbage in, garbage out

If you don't put in the correct numbers in the correct blanks, this calculator won't give you an accurate result. It only does the math. It is your responsibility to put the right numbers in the right blanks. Helpful resources are available throughout the test to help you figure out what the form is asking for and what to put where.

Be sure to account for all the different kinds of income you receive. If you're not sure what to put in an 'expense' blank, skip it. You may find that it doesn't' matter -- that is, you may qualify regardless of what number you put in that blank.

If you need assistance, this website has listing of books and local lawyers that offer bankruptcy help.

Where to find the Official Means Test form

If you end up actually filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy you need to fill out official form (22A). which you can find here. This calculator is based on that form. Close

CloseWhy do you need my zip code?

We do not ask any identifying information other than a zip code..
You will be assigned a random number that will track your means test by setting a cookie. NOTE: You must allow cookies to use the calculator.

Close

Bankruptcy Information

Bankruptcy Info for Your Zip Code:

 Bankruptcy Information

Bankruptcy Means Test Calculators
for
Pinellas County,


Click your Zip Code to launch the Calculator

 

 

 

Bankruptcy Means Tests in Other States:

If you don't know your zip code, look for your city, or click on your state if you don't see your city.

Home

 

Nolo's Attorney Directory


Welcome, users of Nolo's

How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
LegalConsumer.com helps you find local information and services to help you file for bankruptcy.

If you don't own the book, you can still use this site and the free means test calculator.

Don't own a copy?

Learn more...

Albin Renauer, the operator of LegalConsumer.com and the Means Test Calculator, is also a coauthor of Nolo's How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy provides clear, user-friendly information and all the forms you need to get through the entire bankruptcy process. The book and the local resources you'll find on LegalConsumer.com are a perfect combination. The book is designed to work with LegalConsumer.com's means test calculator and lists of exemption laws, which determine what property you'd get to keep in bankruptcy.

The book covers the entire process, and gives you the line-by-line instructions you need to fill out the required Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms. Meanwhile, this website gives you access to the latest local court information and county standards for the means test calculations that you must do to file a sucessful bankruptcy petition.

But first, use the book to find out whether you qualify for Chapter 7 -- and whether or not it's the best way to deal with your debts. It's important to learn what bankruptcy cannot do. You don't want to go to all the trouble of filing bankruptcy only to find out that the it won't help solve your particular problem or kind of debt. The book clearly explains what doesn't bankruptc yan and cannot do.

If you do decide Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the right option, you'll learn how you can use it to:

  • cancel as much debt as possible
  • stop wage garnishments and attachments
  • keep the maximum amount of property using exemption laws
  • deal with secured debts and liens on your property
  • keep your home and car, if possible.

If you think you want to file for bankruptcy but aren't sure you can afford to hire an attorney, How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will help you learn what it takes to complete your bankruptcy petition on your own and complete the bankruptcy process.

You'll also learn how to rebuild your credit rating after bankruptcy.

How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy doe s not cover business bankruptcies, farm reorganizations (Chapter 12) or individual repayment plans (Chapter 13). For Chapter 13 bankruptcy, see Nolo's  Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Keep Your Property & Repay Debts Over Time.

"Clear instructions on when and how to fill out the necessary forms."
-Forbes

"Exceptionally clear…"
-The New York Times

"A do-it-yourself bankruptcy book for people who can’t afford expensive lawyers."
-Newsweek


Press Reviews

"Exceptionally clear."
The New York Times
"How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy advises on everything from how to file court papers to how to respond to threats from creditors.... A do-it-yourself bankruptcy book for people who can’t afford expensive lawyers."
Newsweek
"An in-depth guide to filing under Chapter 7, including state-by-state and federal exemptions as well as forms for do-it-yourself filers."
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine
"Can help you decide if bankruptcy is the right option for you."
Detroit News
"A valuable, easy-to-understand workbook."
Los Angeles Times
"Includes clear instructions on when and how to fill out all the necessary forms, which assets you may legally keep, even advice on whether your case is complicated enough to make it worth your while to hire a lawyer."
Forbes
"The best [bankruptcy books] I know are published by Nolo."
Harry S. Gross, host of
“Speaking of Your Money”
"Covers all the recent changes to the bankruptcy law, and shows you how to get through the entire process with the least damage."
Accounting Today

Customer Review

"I bit the bullet, and purchased Nolo's How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. I represented myself in court and I was granted a discharge of all debts five months later."
Danielle A.,
Richmond, VA
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy lets you cut down debts and keep valuable assets.

If you're considering Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which lets you wipe out some of your debt and pay back the rest over time, use this plain-English guide to decide whether or not it's right for you.

Nolo's Chapter 13 Bankruptcy breaks down the Chapter 13 process and provides clear explanations of the law. First, you can:

  • consider nonbankruptcy alternatives for solving your debt problems
  • decide which is better for you -- Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
  • determine whether you qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Then, delve deeper into Chapter 13 and find out:

  • how filing bankruptcy stops creditors instantly (the "automatic stay")
  • how Chapter 13 can help you avoid foreclosure
  • whether you can reduce your car loan balance, or the balance on other secured debts
  • whether you can get rid of second mortgages or home equity debt

If you think Chapter 13 bankruptcy could work for you, you'll be ready to:

  • determine (with the book's forms and step-by-step instructions) whether you have enough income to come up with a repayment plan that the court will approve
  • calculate the amount of your monthly plan payment
  • find and work effectively with an excellent lawyer, and
  • rebuild your credit after bankruptcy.

This newest edition includes new information on hiring and working with a lawyer, recent court rulings that interpret the federal bankruptcy laws. You'll also find the atest bankruptcy exemption laws in your state, which determine what copy you can keep, and recent IRS standard expense amounts, which affect Chapter 13 plan payments.

For Chapter 7 bankruptcy, see Nolo's How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. If you own your own business and are considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy, see Nolo's Bankruptcy for Small Business Owners.

"An excellent book that can guide you through the process."
-Forbes

"This is the best book going if you choose to file alone or if you want background on the Chapter 13 process."
-Attorney Gary Klein, Coauthor of Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice

"An excellent resource …"
-Consumers Digest


Press Reviews

"In Nolo’s usual thorough fashion, here is a guide to an alternative to the typical Chapter 7 Bankruptcy."
Orange County Register
"An excellent book that can guide you through the [Chapter 13] process."
Forbes Magazine
"Chapter 13 Bankruptcy will save you a fortune in attorney fees and confusion."
The Midwest Book Review
"This is the best book going if you choose to file alone or if you want background on the Chapter 13 process."
Attorney Gary Klein,
co-author of Consumer Bankruptcy Law and Practice
"An excellent resource..."
Consumers Digest
"Contains many tear-out forms, federal and state exemptions charts, and the most recent legal documents and instructions on how to fill them out. "
Reference & Research Book News

 

The New Bankruptcy

The New Bankruptcy

If you're feeling overwhelmed by debt, you may be considering bankruptcy. But is filing bankruptcy the right solution for you and your family? Find out with this plain-English book.

The New Bankruptcy provides the strategies, clear-cut answers, and information and you need to figure out whether bankruptcy can help solve your debt problems. Find out:

  • the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy
  • whether or not you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy
  • how Chapter 13 repayment plans work
  • which debts are wiped out
  • how bankruptcy affects homeowners
  • whether you'll be able to keep cars and other assets
  • how bankruptcy affects your credit score
  • other ways to handle your debt problems

The latest edition of The New Bankruptcy includes updated lists of assets you can keep (exemptions) when you file bankruptcy, plus the latest rules handed down by the Supreme Court as it interprets the federal bankruptcy law. You'll also get worksheets to help you determine whether you can file for bankruptcy, helpful checklists, and easy-to-understand information for all 50 states.

"Authoritative, comprehensive and packed with helpful advice and useful information, including state-specific details."
-Eric Tyson, Author of Personal Finance For Dummies

"…it's important to know whether [bankruptcy] remains a viable option, and this book will offer both explanations and reassurances…"
-Accounting Today


The Foreclosure Survival Guide

The Foreclosure Survival GuideKeep Your House or Walk Away With Money In Your Pocket
(4th edition, 2013)


by Attorney Stephen R. Elias

Facing foreclosure? Know your options!

If you're having trouble making your mortgage payments or are already in jeopardy of foreclosure, The Foreclosure Survival Guide compassionately gives you the practical information you need, step by step.

An essential tool for anyone at risk of foreclosure, The Foreclosure Survival Guide provides key information about:

  • mortgages, including adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs)
  • short sales
  • deeds in lieu of foreclosure
  • judicial and non-judicial foreclosure
  • credit counseling
  • liens, and
  • using bankruptcy to deal with foreclosure.

The Foreclosure Survival Guide gathers all the information Attorney Stephen R. Elias used to help hundreds of clients in over 30 years and shows you how to deal with foreclosure.

Like many hardworking people facing foreclosure in this rough economy, you deserve answers to your pressing questions. Thorough and easy to understand, The Foreclosure Survival Guide can help you stay in your home or walk away with money in your pocket.