Means Testing in Ohio
In order to qualify to file for certain chapters of bankruptcy, debtors must meet certain criteria regarding how much they earn. To determine whether the debtor meets the criteria, Ohio bankruptcy courts require what is called a "means test." The test review income and expenses and compares it with the median income in the region.
Cincinnati Bankruptcy Means Test Lawyer
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy but are not sure for which chapter of bankruptcy you qualify for, the Cincinnati means test lawyers at Steiden Law Offices will advise you and help you through the entire bankruptcy process. Bankruptcy is a complicated and stressful time. Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys can help you through. Call us today at so we can schedule a free consultation.
Our attorneys represent clients throughout the greater Cincinnati area and Southern Ohio.
Means Test Determines Ohio Bankruptcy Eligibility
Each of the bankruptcy chapters have eligibility restrictions regarding income and expenses. The means test is a standardized mathematical formula designed to provide a bright line — a geographically correct measurement of a debtor’s relative income and expenses. If the debtors pass the means test, they are able to file for Chapter 7 relief. If they fail the means test, they are not eligible to file for Chapter 7, but may consider the filing of a Chapter 13 Wage Earner Plan.
If your six month average household income immediately prior to your filing or anticipated filing date is below the median family income, the debtors do not have to take the means test and the debtors are eligible to file for Chapter 7 relief. If the six-month average household income is above the median family income for that region, then the debtors must take the means test.
The test uses your average household income for the most recent six month period prior to your filing or anticipated filing date. The means test is region-sensitive, which means the amounts and allowances for certain normal, everyday expenses are keyed to the debtor’s place of residence.
The means test recognizes that income and expenses are different in New York than they are in Cincinnati. The means test uses regionally standardized expenses for all of the household expenses including the cost of housing or apartment rental, car payments and leases, transportation, gas and automobile maintenance, medical expenses, groceries, clothing and educational expense.
By netting out these standardized expenses, the means test allows the trustee to see if your filing would be an abuse under §707 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Here are some numbers regarding household size and disposable income: In Ohio, a single person household has an allowable median family income amount of $40,888, two person household $50,965, three person household $59,949 and four person household $71,489 and you would add an additional $7,900 for each additional person in the household.
Cincinnati Means Test in Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13
More often than not, the means test allows Chapter 7 filings. The test is somewhat flexible for families with children who require extraordinary medical expenses due to a medical condition or special needs. The same is true of adults who require verifiable and expensive medical treatment, extraordinary expense for travel or certain actual expenses related to self-employment.
The means test is not actually used in a Chapter 13, but the same concept is used through an income expense calculation. Disposable income and standardized expenses are compiled on Official Form 22C and the result is a calculation of the debtor’s current monthly income which must be paid through a Chapter 13 Plan in order to get the Chapter 13 case approved and confirmed. Your Cincinnati bankruptcy lawyer can help you with the details of your case.
Steiden Law Offices | Bankruptcy Means Testing in Ohio
If you are seeking to file bankruptcy but are unsure about whether you qualify, call for a free consultation with the Cincinnati means test lawyers at Steiden Law Offices. We help guide Southern Ohio debtors through the difficult and stressful time of bankruptcy. Call us today.