Bankruptcy / Pennsylvania / Pittsburgh

Filing Bankruptcy in Pittsburgh: 7 Things You Need to Know

Written by Ben Tejes
Updated Nov 27th, 2023

You are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Pittsburgh. Bankruptcy is a common debt relief choice. In fact, many people in Pennsylvania have received bankruptcy relief, and Pittsburgh is no different. In fact, there were 11,829 bankruptcies filed in Pennsylvania in the year ending June 30, 2021 (Source). With a population of 300286, I’d estimate a fair number of those were in Pittsburgh.

The purpose of this article is to provide an extensive list of filing bankruptcy in Pittsburgh including:

  1. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Pittsburgh
  2. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Pittsburgh
  3. Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Attorney Fees
  4. Finding a Reputable Bankruptcy Lawyer in Pittsburgh
  5. Estimating Loss of Belonging (i.e.
  6. Getting Bankruptcy Help in Pittsburgh
  7. Bankruptcy Alternatives and Conclusion

Without further ado, let’s get started with Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Pittsburgh

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common consumer bankruptcy in the United States. People appreciate the simplicity of Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the cost of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and the speed of debt relief. For example, in Pittsburgh, you could get debt relief in about 120 days with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

One of the challenges of Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Pittsburgh is that you have to qualify. In order to qualify in Pittsburgh, you often have to pass the Pennsylvania bankruptcy means test. You can estimate that qualification below in Pittsburgh. Let’s cover how you can qualify.

Chapter 7 Qualification

The first part of the means test is to understand your income in relation to the median income levels for Pennsylvania. It considers the average family size and income.

To estimate your qualification, you can take the Pittsburgh Chapter 7 qualification calculator below that is specific to Pittsburgh.

Finally, the most recent Pennsylvania median income levels is for cases filed on or after November 1, 2023, and can be found below. 

# of PeopleAnnual Income

If your income exceeds the median, you can move on to the second part of the means test to estimate qualification. The second part of the means test is to understand your actual expenses. You can check out our guide covering trying to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy above the median.

For example, the average median rent amount in Pittsburgh is $958, but let's say your rent is almost double that amount. Could you potentially still qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy because of those additional expenses? What you are able to state as ab expense is limited, and you can refer to the current national standard for the maximum amounts, but you may want to speak with your attorney about this situation.

Which Could Would You File In If You Live In Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh is located in the Pennsylvania Western district, so our understanding is that you would be filing your bankruptcy in the Johnstown bankruptcy court. Here's the estimated information we have for your court:

Johnstown Bankruptcy Court
Address: 319 Washington St, Johnstown, PA 15901
Phone: (814) 533-4504

Does that mean you would have to drive to court?

Not necessarily. 

Please note that main meeting for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the 341 meeting of creditors, which is often online via Zoom or another teleconference after the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is known as a wage-earner bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a voluntary reorganization of debt.  In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the individual has debt that they can no longer manage and often own assets that exceed state and/or federal relief. Folks file Chapter 13 bankruptcy often when they do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  

Most individuals in Pittsburgh will qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy as long as they are below the debt limits.

Compared to Chapter 7, there is no liquidation in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Although, the discharge won’t be until around 3 to 5 years. The Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 7 years.

Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Attorney Fees

When looking for a bankruptcy attorney, we recommend that you look for these 5 attributes: Rate, Reliability, Referrals, Reviews, and Relevancy. You can check our guide to find a top bankruptcy attorney in Pittsburgh.

The estimated Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer fee in Pittsburgh is: $995 - $1850.

The estimated Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer fee in Pittsburgh is: $3000 - $4500. The Chapter 13 attorney fee is often set across the district, meaning that all Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys in a district may charge around the same fee.

Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Attorneys

One of the most important things to do is to find a reputable bankruptcy attorney in Pittsburgh if you decide to hire one. This is legal advice related to finances that are going to affect your future. For example, making sure you are in the right bankruptcy chapter (Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13) could cost you thousands more and take you years longer.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer

As stated above, Pittsburgh has a population of 300286. In many cases, individuals in larger cities such as Philadelphia or Pittsburgh would like a bankruptcy lawyer close by. In smaller cities, I have found that individuals have questions about whether the bankruptcy will show up in the newspaper or whether friends will hear about it. This is a valid question.

Regardless, you can check the Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers in or near Pittsburgh using the table below. You just need to input your zip code, and voila, you can choose which Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer you would like to speak to near or far away from Pittsburgh in a free bankruptcy lawyer consultation

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer

Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Pittsburgh may be a bit more intensive, so you may consider a Chapter 13 bankruptcy that is closer to you. That said, with the internet and the pandemic, many of the meetings are now online and you can generally submit your documentation online as well.

How much a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney often charges is based on what's called a no-look fee. We do our best to track the Chapter 13 attorney fee in Pittsburgh.

Bankruptcy Exemptions in Pennsylvania

As you live in Pittsburgh, you are often able to use the Pennsylvania bankruptcy exemptions to help you keep your belongings.

One of the biggest questions people have is whether they are able to keep their homes in bankruptcy. This is where bankruptcy exemptions come into play. As Pittsburgh has a home ownership % of 47.2% and an estimated estimated home value of $126706, you can understand that many people want to keep this asset. You can often keep your assets using bankruptcy exemptions.

Here are the Pennsylvania bankruptcy exemptions. The exemptions are revised on different occasions, so you may wish to check the most current information on exemptions. Also, as a reference, Pennsylvania is a place that allows you to use federal bankruptcy exemptions. You often have to choose which one to use, so a bankruptcy attorney can help you with that option.

Homestead Exemption

The homestead exemption is often broken down by age and whether you are married. 

  • Single and under 65: $0
  • Single is 65 or older: $0
  • Married and under 65: $0
  • Married is 65 or older: $0

Pennsylvania specific homestead bankruptcy exemption text: “Property held as tenancy by the entirety may be exempt against debts owed by only one spouse.” (Source)

Automobile Exemption

The automobile bankruptcy exemption in Pennsylvania is $0.

Jewelry Exemption

The jewelry bankruptcy exemption in Pennsylvania is $0.

Tools of Trade Exemption

The tools of the trade bankruptcy exemption in Pennsylvania is $0.

Wildcard Exemption

The wildcard bankruptcy exemption in Pennsylvania is $0.

Special Exemption Handling for Pennsylvania

Below is specific special handling of bankruptcy exemptions in Pennsylvania.

  • All Exemptions: uses Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions

Bankruptcy Help in Pittsburgh

Unemployment can cause both frustration and angst about options. The most recent statistic I found is that the Pittsburgh unemployment rate is 5.6%. There may be resources available to help. In addition to the unemployment rate, Pittsburgh has a disability rate of 13.9%. As such, if you are truly in need and don’t have income, there are resources that may be available that can help you.

Check out the legal aid and free resources that may be available in Pittsburgh.

Legal Aid and Free Resources

Here are some legal aid resources that may be helpful to you in Pittsburgh.

The bankruptcy court and district may have free resources that are available to you. I have included the information below. 

Lastly, Pittsburgh also has a limited English rate of 2.3% and a poverty rate of 20.5%. If you have limited English, you may check out the court websites for Pennsylvania for additional information on how you can be served. You can also see how filing bankruptcy without an attorney can work if you cannot afford a bankruptcy lawyer.

Courts and Districts in Pennsylvania

Eastern District

  • 601 Market Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19106
  • 504 W. Hamilton Street
    Allentown, PA 18101
  • 201 Penn Street
    Reading, PA 19601
  • 101 Larry Holmes Drive
    Easton, PA 18042-7722


  • 235 N. Washington Avenue
    Scranton, PA 18503
  • 228 Walnut Street
    Harrisburg, PA 17101
  • 240 West Third Street
    Suite 218
    Williamsport, PA 17701
  • 197 South Main Street
    Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701


  • 17 South Park Row
    Erie, PA 16501
  • 700 Grant Street
    Pittsburgh, PA 15219
  • 208 Penn Traffic Building
    319 Washington Street
    Johnstown, PA 15901

Debt Settlement in Pittsburgh

One of the most common alternatives to bankruptcy is debt settlement. A debt settlement firm would negotiate for a lower amount due on your debt in the case of financial hardship. The goal would be to reduce your debt in half. In this case, you would have a lower monthly payment.

If you are looking at debt settlement in Pittsburgh, you may want to consider a national debt settlement firm to a local one in Pittsburgh. For example, most of your creditors are probably national banks instead of local Pittsburgh banks. As such, you can potentially get lower fees by using a national firm. You should strongly consider the pros and cons and credit score impact before taking the plunge as Ascend only recommends 2 debt settlement firms nationwide that both offer free phone evaluations.


Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Pittsburgh can provide debt relief. That said, you may want to consider the cost of bankruptcy in Pittsburgh, the different bankruptcy chapters, reputable attorneys in Pittsburgh and alternatives to help you make the most informed decision. 

You can also take our Chapter 7 vs Chapter calculator below to help you estimate the cost and qualification of Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Pittsburgh.