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What if I don’t pass the means test?

Increases in the cost of living in Florida without corresponding increases in your salary can put you in trouble quickly. Using a credit card to keep up could strain your finances further. If at some point you decide to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and get relief from your debt, you must first prove that you are eligible through the means test.

According to, the point of the means test is to show that you do not have enough disposable income to pay your debts. If you make more than Florida’s median household income, you may not pass unless you can show that after allowable expenses such as food and housing, your disposable income falls below the limit. If you still do not pass, then Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not currently an option.

Because the means test uses your financial information from the previous six months, your results may be significantly different if you take it again six months from now. However, holding on for six more months may be too difficult. If so, you may be able to find debt relief by filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead.

Having disposable income puts you in a position to pay some of your debt, although possibly not nearly enough to make every payment. Chapter 13 restructures your debt based on what you can pay, and stretches it out over three to five years. This may be preferable to Chapter 7 bankruptcy in many ways. For example, instead of having assets such as your home liquidated, you may keep them and catch up on past due amounts. This is general information and is not intended to serve as legal advice.

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