Updated Means Test Median Income

The bankruptcy median income means test has been updated on November 1st, 2017. This number, based on family household size, is used to determine whether or not you must repay unsecured creditors through Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

The new chart for annualized, gross income is as follows:

  • Household of 1- $51,960
  • Household of 2- $62,359
  • Household of 3- $77,306
  • Household of 4- $91,692
  • Household of 5- $100,092
  • Household of 6- $108,492
  • Household of 7- $116,892
  • Household of 8- $125,292

How do you make sense of this to determine where you fall? Well, for one thing, the means test is a 6 month look-back at ALL income (excluding Social Security). So, if you have no children or spouse, you would look at the allowable income for a household of 1. The number listed above is for GROSS (before tax) income, and it is annualized. If you are a household of 1, divide the allowable income by 2 (in this case $25,980). If you grossed more income in the 6 months before filing, you are above the means test baseline, and must then determine your "disposable monthly income."

If you are married, you must include all household income, even if your spouse is not filing. Income includes pensions, unemployment earnings, bonuses, and even lottery winnings. Legal dependents, usually children, will add to your household size (the rule of thumb is, if you have claimed a child as a dependent on your taxes, you can claim them in bankruptcy).

So, add up all gross income for the six months before filing, determine your household size, divide the threshold amount by 2, and you should have a pretty good idea if you will be required to repay your unsecured creditors.

There are some allowable deductions, such as taxes, alimony, insurance, and household expenses that could lower your income. The means test is fairly complicated. Contact us to set up a free consultation. I will be happy to review your income and expenses and determine whether or not you must repay your creditors. I am an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can walk your through the intricacies of bankruptcy law. I can help you to plan for the means test, and review every loophole (for instance, the means test does not apply if your debts are primarily business).