Chapter 7 Means Test was last modified: October 8th, 2019 by Howard Iken

Chapter 7 Means Test

Quick Info:

What is a chapter 7 means test?

Your eligibility to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy case in Florida depends on your income. If your income is higher than the median income for your household size in Florida – you initially do not qualify for a chapter 7. But the means test may provide an exception. The means test looks at your income after certain allowed expenses are deducted. Some people qualify for a chapter 7 after applying the means test.

There is a common misconception that few people qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy since the bankruptcy reforms imposed by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention & bankruptcy means testConsumer Protection Act of 2005.  While the legislation did create a financial means test that limits the eligibility of some who would previously have qualified for a Chapter 7 discharge, there is no truth to the premise that people need to be close to the poverty level to qualify for Chapter 7.  Many people with six figure incomes can satisfy the means test and obtain Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief.


The means test is a two-part evaluation that does not analyze a debtor’s income in isolation but considers income in relation to one’s secured and unsecured debt obligations.  The first part of the evaluation involves comparing the income of the debtor to the median income in Florida.  If the debtor’s income is lower than the state median income, the debtor qualifies for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy without further evaluation.


The median income is based on the size of the family.  This threshold for Florida as of May 1, 2019 ranged from approximately $49,172 for a family of one to $78,833 for a family of four.  If you are filing bankruptcy in another state, the median state income in that state will be used for this stage of the evaluation. 

This evaluation includes consideration of gross income (i.e. pre-tax income) for all members of a household regardless of who is filing bankruptcy.  The debtor’s median income is determined by adding the gross income for the six months prior to filing, doubling the amount and dividing by twelve.


Even if your income exceeds the median income based on the number of people in your family, you may still qualify for Chapter 7 if you do not have enough disposable income to make a significant monthly payment to your credit card debts and other forms of standard unsecured debts.  A debtor’s disposable income is evaluated after allowing for a number of deductions from your gross income, which include the following:


  • Standard mandatory payroll deductions
  • Secured obligations (e.g. mortgage, financed vehicles)
  • Priority unsecured debts (e.g. child support, alimony, certain taxes, etc.)
  • Necessary living expenses in amounts allowable under IRS regulations
  • Certain extraordinary expenses that occur regularly
  • Certain expenses based on actual amounts paid


If there is a significant amount of disposable income left over after deducting these amounts, you will be required to file Chapter 13.  Debtors that do not have enough income remaining after these amounts have been deducted qualify for Chapter 7 under the means chapter 13 payment plantest.   If you do not qualify under the means test, you will be forced to file Chapter 13, which is less advantageous because you will not simply be relieved of your obligation to pay most unsecured debts like medical bills, credit cards, loans without security interests and other forms of non-priority unsecured obligations. The attorneys at Ayo and Iken strongly recommend Chapter 7 cases because they are incredibly more beneficial to our clients. Debtors who do not qualify for Chapter 7 under the means test must make monthly payments toward a payment plan over a 3 or 5 year period.  Their discharge will be received only if they successfully complete their payment plan so they will have to wait years for their discharge.  Those forced into Chapter 13 also will be obligated to repay some or all of the debtor’s unsecured debts.   Our experienced Florida bankruptcy attorneys offer a free consultation so we can evaluate your situation and advise you about your eligibility under the Chapter 7 means test.  Call us today at Ayo and Iken to schedule your confidential free consultation at 1-800-469-3486 or email us.

florida lawyers

Our Attorneys Are Ready to Fight for You!

Over the past 14 years Ayo & Iken has helped over 5,000 people just like you

Our Attorneys Are Ready to Fight for You!


Over the past 14 years Ayo & Iken has helped over 5,000 people just like you

I was a little in doubt until I saw him do a deposition of my spouse. It was brutal !! From that point on everything went my way. My kids are finally safe from my drug addict wife. Nice job

Anonymous – Lawyer Ratingz


Need assistance with this form?

Free Consultation is limited to individuals considering hiring an attorney. Not all situations qualify. Fee charged for appellate case evaluations.

Or email message to:

My previous attorney was doing a very poor job of representing me to collect unpaid child support (severe lack of communication, 1 invoice over 2 years, some paperwork not filed, frequent change of support personnel, etc.). Jim took over on short notice (a few months before court date) and quickly got up to speed. He knew what was fair and legal: I was owed child support and the ex admitted it in his own writing, but simply chose to stop paying. He resolved to settle for nothing less. Because the previous attorney failed to file the financial disclosure with the court, and there was no proof of assets to liquefy; all the GM could do was reinstate wage garnishment as previously ordered. Jim did a fine job of showing the debtor did nothing to fulfill his responsibilities by asking direct questions of him in front of the GM.

Anonymous – Avvo