Bankruptcy / Florida / Means Test

Florida Bankruptcy Means Test and Income Limit

Written by Ben Tejes
Updated Oct 21st, 2021

You are considering filing bankruptcy in Florida and understand that you can qualify by passing the Chapter 7 bankruptcy means test. You can qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida in two different ways.

  1. Your current household income is lower than the median income for your family size in Florida. You can estimate with the Florida bankruptcy means test calculator. Please note that there are certain incomes that are excluded from the means test.

  2. Your current household income is higher than the median income, but you have expenses that may be deductible. You can estimate with the Florida above median bankruptcy means test calculator.

The Florida bankruptcy means test calculators below will help you estimate qualification for either scenario. You may only have to take one calculator if your income level is lower than the Florida Chapter 7 bankruptcy income level.

Chapter 7 Means Test Explanation

The means test is a standardized bankruptcy form that you complete to file for bankruptcy. You can think of it as an income test. The bankruptcy forms calculate your average monthly income. It then annualizes that figure to calculate your average annual income.

Here are some important things to note:

  1. The means test in Florida applies to your entire household income even if your spouse is not filing with you. This may be different if you are legally separated.
  2. The household income is used for the bankruptcy means test in Florida. As such, it compares your average household income to other household incomes in Florida. The figures used for the means test comes from the Census Bureau data. 
  3. Here’s the specific languageused for the average monthly income used for the Florida bankruptcy means test.
    1. Fill in the average monthly income that you received from all sources, derived during the 6 full months before you file this bankruptcy case. 11 U.S.C. § 101(10A). For example, if you are filing on September 15, the 6-month period would be March 1 through August 31. If the amount of your monthly income varied during the 6 months, add the income for all 6 months and divide the total by 6. Fill in the result. Do not include any income amount more than once. For example, if both spouses own the same rental property, put the income from that property in one column only. If you have nothing to report for any line, write $0 in the space.
  4. If your income is variable, you may consider using this average income calculator. This calculator was built to estimate your average monthly income for the Florida means test.

Florida Bankruptcy Means Test Calculator

There are three US bankruptcy forms to estimate qualification. The first Florida bankruptcy means test calculator below is based on the Chapter 7 Statement of Your Monthly Income form.

Florida Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Income Limit 

Below are the household income levels for Florida for bankruptcy cases filed on or after May 15, 2021. The figures change every 6 months or so. If your household size is greater than 9, you would add $9,000 for each additional family member.

# of PeopleAnnual Income

Florida Above Median Bankruptcy Means Test Calculator

You may have taken the calculator above and your income is above the household income level for Florida. If so, you may still qualify based on the next two means test forms: 1. Statement of Exemption from Presumption of Abuse Under §707(b)(2) and 2. Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation. The second portion of the means test allows you to deduct allowable monthly expenses from your current monthly income (CMI) to calculate your disposable income. The expenses used are a combination of national and Florida expenses.

As a note, disposable income is the income available after expenses that may be used to repay your debts. If your disposable income is below a specific amount, you may still qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

The Florida above-median bankruptcy means test calculator below uses both forms to help you determine allowable expenses to estimate Chapter 7 qualification.

Allowable deductible expenses 

Here are the certain expenses that you may deduct actual expenses on the second part of the bankruptcy means test.

  • Mandatory employment deductions, such as union dues, retirement plans, and uniforms
  • Health and disability insurance premiums
  • Income taxes
  • Child Care expense
  • Term life insurance premiums
  • Secured debt payments for your car and home
  • Alimony and child support payments
  • Charitable contributions (limited to a percentage of your income)

You may also deduct other expenses for special circumstances. For this, you may want to speak with a local bankruptcy attorney in Florida with a free evaluation. 

What Happens If You Fail the Bankruptcy Means Test?

If you fail the bankruptcy means test, you may still have options. For example, you can consider a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Florida. You may also consider bankruptcy alternatives such as debt settlement, debt management or debt payoff planning.

Florida Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is known as a wage earner’s plan. In many cases, you will pay back a portion of your unsecured debts in a payment plan. You are often able to keep your assets, and there’s no qualification as long as you are under the debt limits. It’s also on your credit report for 7 years instead of 10 years. It can take 36 or 60 months. If you are in a 100% Chapter 13, your payment plan may be shorter.

Debt Settlement 

Debt settlement is when a company or you negotiate to lower your debt balance less than what you originally owe. That way a portion of what you were supposed to pay back will be forgiven. For example, if you owe in debt $50,000, debt settlement is able to negotiate the amount down to $25,000. The debt settlement program is often a payment plan that could be between 12 - 60 months.

Debt Management 

Debt management (also known as credit counseling) is when a company negotiates to lower the interest rate of your debt. For example, if you owe a blended interest rate of 22%, a debt management company may be able to negotiate the interest rate to 9%. Many companies work with credit cards, but may not work with unsecured personal loans. The debt management program is often a payment plan that could be between 36 - 60 months.