The bankruptcy process can be tricky, and there are many places where it can get derailed. One hurdle many filers struggle with is the Chapter 7 means test. The good news is that failing the means test doesn’t mean you’re bankruptcy bid is hopeless. You may be able to make corrections, delay filing, or choose a different type of filing.

One thing that can make the bankruptcy process smoother is a Brownsville bankruptcy lawyer. If you’re struggling with debt or the bankruptcy process, the bankruptcy attorneys of the Law Offices of Phillippe and Associates can help. Remember: bankruptcy isn’t a failure. It may be the tool you need to find your way to financial freedom.

Review Your Information

Simply put, the means test is a complex bit of bureaucracy, and making mistakes are common on the long, detailed forms that are part of filing for bankruptcy. Be sure that you review your forms before you submit them, but if you fail the means test, check them again. It could be that a mistake in the forms led to your form being denied.

There are a few mistakes that are more common, however. Be sure to check your forms for each of the following:

  1. Using the wrong household size
  2. Overstating or overestimating your income
  3. Underestimating your deductions
  4. Any missing deductions

This isn’t a comprehensive list of errors that could appear on your forms, so consulting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney is the best way to ensure that your forms are 100 percent accurate.

Delay Filing for Bankruptcy

The means test actually doesn’t take that much of your life into account. The test only looks at the last six months of your average income before your filing. If you’ve made more in the last few months, this may affect the accuracy of the form’s representation of your financial situation. If this is true for you, you may wish to delay filing. If you’ve recently been fired or experienced a pay cut, that may also lower your average income enough for you to qualify. 

Consider a Different Chapter for Filing

If you can’t meet the requirements of the means test for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may wish to consider filing for Chapter 13 instead. Chapter 13 doesn’t require filers to meet a means test; however, Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 aren’t exactly the same.

When filing for Chapter 13, debtors need to propose a repayment plan that covers a three to five year period. The amount you’ll need to pay depends on how much you make and how much you own. If this sounds like something that would be too complicated, Mr. Phillippe of the Law Offices of Phillippe and Associates would be glad to simplify the process for you.

You can read more about the differences between Chapters 7 and 13 in this post we created recently here.


Filing for bankruptcy could help you find the financial freedom you need during these uncertain times. Contact us today to start the process.


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