What Is the Bankruptcy Means Test in Washington, DC?

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Written by the Upsolve Team.  
Updated July 31, 2019

Living in the District can be a hectic affair. From trying to avoid getting stuck behind motorcades to avoiding the chaos of protesters, it can be uniquely difficult to find peace and consistency when living in Washington D.C. This is perhaps especially true for families struggling to pay the bills. When this happens, it’s often impossible to leave your stressors on the streets of D.C. When financial catastrophe strikes, stress follows you home. Thankfully, there are legal options to obtain relief available to families who are having a hard time making ends meet. One of the most effective solutions available isChapter 7 bankruptcy. If your income is less than a certain amount  and you meet requirements limits set by the Court in its Chapter 7 Means Test, you may qualify for thecancellation of most or all of your debt. Unlike other forms of DC bankruptcy relief, Chapter 7 provides you with permanent relief in as little as 90 days while keeping most or all of your property.

Washington, DC Median Income Levels

District Of Columbia Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed On or After May 1, 2020
Household SizeMonthly IncomeAnnual Income
1$5,284.50$63,414.00
2$9,590.17$115,082.00
3$10,814.75$129,777.00
4$11,717.92$140,615.00
5$12,467.92$149,615.00
6$13,217.92$158,615.00
7$13,967.92$167,615.00
8$14,717.92$176,615.00
9$15,467.92$185,615.00
10$16,217.92$194,615.00

Discharge in Bankruptcy for Washington, DC

When a successful Chapter 7 District of Columbia bankruptcy is complete, your eligible debts (includingmedical bills, credit card debt and someoverdue taxes) will be erased. The Court’s order that erases your debts in this way is called a District of Columbia bankruptcy discharge. The government has an interest in making sure that only folks who don’t have the means to pay at least some of their debts are eligible to receive their Washington DC bankruptcy discharge in a Chapter 7 case, as it deprives creditors of their ability to collect. Therefore, each debtor must pass the Chapter 7 Means Test to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

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Washington, DC Means Test Calculator

The easiest way to see whether you qualify for the benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves accessing an online District of Columbia Means Test calculator. This resource will allow you to evaluate whether you pass the Chapter 7 Means Test. When using an onlineMeans Test calculator, take care to choose only a calculator that reflects the current standards set by the Court for the bankruptcy Means Test in Washington, DC. Consider using the calculator provided by Upsolve. This nonprofit ensures that all of its Means Test calculators are up-to-date and reflect current standards. Not all Means Test calculators available online are current, so they are not all accurate. To make an informed decision about whether to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you need to have reliable Means Test results. 

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What Happens if I Fail the Means Test for Washington, DC?

When you live in the District, you become uniquely aware that there are just some scenarios beyond your control. From suddenly unreasonable weather conditions to having half the roads in the city shut down due to security concerns, you have learned to manage when you can’t control many of the various forces around you. If you discover that you don’t qualify to file your District of Columbia bankruptcy as a Chapter 7 under the Means Test, know that although this scenario is beyond your control, there are other options available to you and your family. Upsolve can refer you to anexperienced local attorney. Many attorneys offer free consultations so that potential clients can explore their options and have their questions about the process answered. These meetings are risk-free, as they don’t obligate you to take any action whatsoever. There are a number of Washington, DC bankruptcy options, so don’t get discouraged. Your search for solutions is not yet over.

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Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families who cannot afford lawyers file bankruptcy for free, using an online web app. Spun out of Harvard Law School, our team includes lawyers, engineers, and judges. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations. It's one of the greatest civil rights injustices of our time that low-income families can’t access their basic rights when they can’t afford to pay for help. Combining direct services and advocacy, we’re fighting this injustice.

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