Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Unsecured Debt in Chapter 13: How Much Must You Pay?

The amount you are required to pay back to your general unsecured creditors in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case depends on various factors.  It can range from only a few pennies on the dollar to a 100% of the debt. The amount required to be paid must be the higher of the "Means Test" (projected disposable income) and the amount of the chapter 7 liquidation test.

Means Test

The amount you are required to pay back must be at least the amount of you "projected disposable income" as calculated by the "means test" used in Chapter 13.  Basically, your monthly income is calculated and your expenses are deducted, leaving the "projected disposable income."

For purpose of this test, your income is based on the income for the six months period prior to the filing of the bankruptcy case. If the income changes, higher or lower, the new figure may be required to be used. The expenses used in these test are not your actual living expenses, but they are amounts based on the IRS collection standards for certain items and actual mortgage and car loan debts.
The amount of  expenses is deducted from the income leaving the monthly "projected disposable income." Debtor with income less than median income will only be required to pay for three years, but over-median income debtors are required to pay for five years.

Chapter 7 Liquidation Test

The amount required to be paid back in a Chapter 13 case must be at least as much as the "chapter 7 liquidation test" which is the amount that could be received on a hypothetical chapter 7 liquidation of your property.