- There are federal and state income requirements for filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.Debt concept - cutting a credit card image by Sophia Winters from Fotolia.com
Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides individuals with the chance to start their financial lives over. Bankruptcy may give you protection from creditors and banks, but such protection cannot be given out to everyone facing economic hardships. Therefore, there are federal guidelines you must meet before you can declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- A bankruptcy court will employ a means test to determine your ability to pay your bills. The court compares your monthly income over the past six months to your state's median income guidelines. Each state has a different median income level due to cost of living differences. If you are below your state's median income, you have a strong case to make in bankruptcy court.
- Bankruptcy court considers whether you pass a disposable income level test. The disposable income level test states that even though a person may be able to pay off all debts, he may still file bankruptcy if he cannot purchase necessary goods such as housing, food or clothing after debts are paid. If you have less than $100 left over after all your monthly bills are paid, then most bankruptcy courts should see you meeting the disposable income level test.
- Bankruptcy court also calculates whether you are able to pay off debts within a set time frame. If you have more than $100 of disposable income per month but cannot pay off 25 percent of your total debt over five years, then you have a strong case in bankruptcy court.