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Qualifying for Chapter 7

Do I qualify for bankruptcy?

To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must pass the means test, which compares your household income to the median income in your state for a household your size.
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Updated: 2020-07-14
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To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must show that either:

  • your income is below your state’s median income for your family size, or
  • your income and expenses, calculated together, leave you unable to pay your debts. This is determined under a complex formula called the bankruptcy means test.

If you don't qualify for Chapter 7, you may still qualify to file under Chapter 13. To qualify for chapter 13, your debt must be under the limit set by the bankruptcy code and you must be current on your tax filings for the last four years.

For details, see How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Works or How Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Works.


You may also be interested in:

  • What are the different kinds of bankruptcy?

    This site focuses on Chapter7 and Chapter 13. But there are also chapters 11, 12, 9, and 15

  • Secured debt vs. unsecured debt: What's the difference?

    Bankruptcy helps you get rid of unsecured debt. It does not eliminate secured debts, where you have pledged collateral for a loan, such as a car loan or a mortgage. When you file bankruptcy you must declare what you intend to do about your secured debts.

  • Means Test Calculator for Your County

    The Means Test Calculator is an automated version of the official three-part test form. Just choose your zip code, and the calculator applies the relevant state median income and county living standards, based on the number of persons in your household, your marital status and what county you live in.

Automatically apply your county expense standards and state income standards to your means test calculation.

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