Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Means Test Calculator: Estimate Qualification and Cost

We want to make it clear upfront that the primary goal of this article is to provide readers with knowledge about the bankruptcy process. Since we are not attorneys, we cannot give you legal advice. However, if you'd like to talk with a bankruptcy lawyer, you may schedule a free appointment with us!
Information in this article does not constitute legal advice, it is for informational purposes only, and may not constitute the most up-to-date information. Readers should contact their attorney for advice on any particular legal matter.

If you're considering filing for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, you may know the Chapter 7 means test criteria. You may wonder about the requirements and how to pass the means test. We'll talk about all of that and more.

  1. First, you may qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Pennsylvania if your current household income is lower than the median income for your family. Utilize the bankruptcy means test calculator for Pennsylvania provided below to determine your likelihood of meeting this requirement. Remember that the means test does not account for all salaries, so that's something to consider!
  2. If you make more than the income threshold for your household size, depending on how far you exceed the threshold, you may still qualify after deductions.

You can take the Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Means Test Calculator below that should have the most recent updated statistics for 2023–2024.

Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Means Test Calculator

Discuss the benefits of employing the bankruptcy means test to determine your eligibility.

Let's start with the basics: you should know about the three types of US bankruptcy. We'll focus on the first one, the form referred to as the Chapter 7 Statement of Your Monthly Income. Our calculator for the Pennsylvania bankruptcy means test is based on this form. This calculator helps you determine how much it will cost to file for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania with legal assistance and whether you qualify for bankruptcy.

You can determine your qualifying status and estimate the cost using the calculator below.

Keep on reading, or jump ahead to the section that interests you most.

Table of Contents

Chapter 7 Means Test Explanation

Most of the time, filing for bankruptcy requires passing a means test. However, there are a few things you should be aware of before taking this means test, especially if you live in Pennsylvania. First, even if your spouse isn't filing with you, the test considers the income from your entire family unless you are officially separated.

First, you complete a standard form that calculates your average monthly salary. Then, from all sources, you have to provide your average monthly income for the six months leading up to your bankruptcy petition. For example, if your filing date is September 15, you must consider the period from March 1 to August 31. If your revenue fluctuated during those six months, total it up and divide it by six. If there is nothing to report on a particular line, write $0.

If your salary fluctuates, you might want to check out this calculator for average income. It is designed especially for the Pennsylvania Means Test and will estimate your average monthly income.

Pennsylvania Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Income Limit

We will now discuss the Pennsylvania Chapter 7 bankruptcy income limit as of November 1, 2023. First, it's crucial to remember that these figures often fluctuate every six months or so. The data is arranged by household size and the corresponding median income. Here is the data:

# of PeopleAnnual Income
1$64,277
2$78,349
3$99,093
4$120,885
5$130,785
6$140,685
7$150,585
8$160,485
9$170,385

What Is Considered Income?

Let's talk about income and bankruptcy, which means testing. Not all sources of income are included in the test. For example, disability and social security income are not considered. Therefore, you shouldn't be concerned if you are counting on those.

However, the Pennsylvania bankruptcy means test considers a wide range of different sources of income. Any regular payments made by someone other than the petitioner for bankruptcy are included. The purpose of these contributions is to pay for household expenses. Let's look at a few of the sources of income that fall into this category:

  1. Salaried income: The amount you get paid each month.
  2. Spousal income: Your spouse's income is subject to challenge if you're in a joint case or aren't officially separated.
  3. Hourly and overtime pay: You can deduct any overtime you work.
  4. Net Rental Income: Any money you make from renting out real estate is included.
  5. Pennsylvania government income: Your state payments are included on this list if you get any.
  6. Alimony and child support
  7. Royalties, Interest, and Dividends: funds from investments and entrepreneurial ventures
  8. Retirement and Pension Income
  9. Net business income: The money you make from your firm is included if you are the owner and operator.
  10. Payments for annuities
  11. Compensation for unemployment
  12. Benefits from Worker's Compensation

What Is Considered In Household Size?

How household size is determined is one frequently asked question. Your roommate, for instance, is not included in the household total.
The concept only applies to those financially related to each other and living in the same residence throughout bankruptcy proceedings. This covers immediate family members, dependents, and anyone who utilizes or contributes to the household's resources.

Pennsylvania Above Median Bankruptcy Means Test

You won't necessarily be rejected if it appears that your income is higher than Pennsylvania's household income threshold. You can use one of two additional means test forms to determine whether you still meet the requirements for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The initial document is known as the "Statement of Exemption from Presumption of Abuse Under §707(b)(2)." It assists you in demonstrating that, despite your high income, you have reasonable cause to file for bankruptcy.

This form is called the "Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation." With this one, you can deduct your current monthly income from your authorized monthly expenses. This will allow you to calculate your disposable income, the amount of money remaining after your expenses are covered.

A combination of national and Pennsylvania expenses is utilized in this computation. Thus, it accounts for the particular cost of living in your state.

As a short aside, disposable income is the amount left over after expenses are met. This is used to pay down debt. You could still be able to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if your disposable income is less than a specific threshold.

You can take the Chapter 7 means test below to estimate your initial qualification before considering those deductions.

Allowable deductible expenses

In the second section of the test, there are some charges that you can write off as actual costs. They include things like income taxes, child care costs, term life insurance premiums, required employment deductions (think union dues, retirement plans, and uniforms), health and disability insurance premiums, income taxes, secured debt payments for your home and vehicle, alimony and child support payments, and charitable contributions (up to a certain amount, depending on your income).

You can also deduct other expenses for exceptional circumstances. However, these deductions are limited and depend on the number of people in your household. To determine the maximum amounts allowed for these expenses, you can check out the current national standards here.

If you still have questions or need further guidance, contacting a local bankruptcy attorney in Pennsylvania may be a good idea. They may provide a free evaluation and help you navigate this process.

What Happens If You Fail the Bankruptcy Means Test?

If you do not pass the bankruptcy means test, there are still ways to navigate your financial troubles. Some alternative options include Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debt settlement, debt management, or debt payoff planning.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If your income is higher than the criteria for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be able to find relief through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. That said, it may be vital to understand how the process of Chapter 13 works and the total cost involved. Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Pennsylvania allows you to restructure your debt into a manageable monthly payment plan. You may prevent foreclosure, keep your house and vehicles, and prevent having your belongings reclaimed with this restructuring. Furthermore, you can qualify for a decrease in any arrears for child support, alimony, and auto loans.

Some individuals prefer Chapter 13 over Chapter 7 bankruptcy if they have more equity than what's allowed under the Ohio bankruptcy exemption; Chapter 13 might be the way to go.

Debt Settlement

Apart from filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, debt settlement provides an additional option for handling excessive debt. If you choose debt settlement, you may save money over time since the settlement company will work to lower the total amount of your debt. But it's essential to consider how it affects your credit score. Consider debt settlement thoroughly and select a trustworthy and open supplier before settling your debt. You may minimize detrimental consequences on your finances while navigating the complexity of debt management by making an informed decision.

Debt Management

Another option is to manage your debt. While debt settlement organizations work to lower the total debt you owe, debt management companies seek to minimize your interest rates. These three- to five-year programs are frequently more expensive than debt settlement. Moreover, there is a chance that not all creditors will cooperate with a debt management company.

However, if you have a lot of high-interest credit card debt, this option may reduce your interest rate by roughly 10% to 20%. In the long run, this might save you anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of what you currently owe and help you pay off your expenses faster. In the end, it's imperative to consider your situation and make a decision that makes the most sense financially.

Summary

Although navigating Pennsylvania's Chapter 7 bankruptcy means test and income limit may appear complicated, doing so is an essential first step toward obtaining financial relief. Many choose Chapter 7 despite its complexity because it is less expensive than alternative debt relief choices. The means test compares your household's income to the income ceiling in Pennsylvania while considering several exemptions.

Don't give up if your household income is higher than the threshold. In Pennsylvania, being eligible for Chapter 7 considers your income, costs, and deductions. You may still be able to receive Chapter 7 relief if you carefully evaluate these facts.

There are other options to consider, like debt management, debt negotiation, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Regardless of the results of the means test, each alternative offers a unique set of factors to consider and possible solutions, providing comfort in the knowledge that there is always a path forward.

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