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What is the Bankruptcy Means Test in Illinois?

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Written by Attorney Karra Kingston
Updated July 28, 2019

To qualify a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the Land of Lincoln, you have to pass the bankruptcy Means Test in Illinois. In 2005, when Congress revised the Bankruptcy Code, they implemented the Chapter 7 Means Test to stop people who can afford to pay their debts from filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.It determines who is eligible to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The Means Test has two parts. First, you can qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy based on the income limits set for Illinois. If you earn less than the median household income for a family of the same size in Illinois, you pass the Chapter 7 Means Test. If your income is above the allowable amount, you have to go through the second part of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy Means Test in Illinois, which looks at your disposable income after your monthly expenses. If, after going through the full calculation, you have no (or very little) disposable income remaining, you can file your Illinois bankruptcycase as a Chapter 7 case. 

Illinois Median Income Levels

Illinois Median Income Standards for Means Test for Cases Filed In 2022
Household SizeMonthly IncomeAnnual Income

Discharge in Bankruptcy for Illinois 

When you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you want to get a discharge. A discharge means you can walk away from all of your debts without having to pay them. To successfully get an Illinois bankruptcy discharge, you need to be honest and make sure all of your assets are listed on your bankruptcy forms. In order to complete an Illinois bankruptcy, you will have to attend a Meeting of Creditors with a Trustee who will go over everything you disclosed in your forms. If all of the required steps have been completed, you will receive the notice that your debts have been discharged approximately 60 days after your Meeting of Creditors. A discharge is not the same as the Court closing your bankruptcy case. Your bankruptcy case will most likely be closed a short time after your discharge is entered. An Illinois bankruptcy discharge is not guaranteed in every case. Bankruptcy Courts can deny a discharge for many reasons, including errors in the debtor’s bankruptcy Means Test in Illinois. It’s important that you qualify under the Chapter 7 Means Test, so you receive your Illinois bankruptcy discharge without any complications.  

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Illinois Means Test Calculator

To determine if you qualify for a to file your Illinois bankruptcy as a Chapter 7 case, you should use the Illinois Means Test calculator. If you do an online search, you will see many online Means Test calculators. A lot of these calculators are not kept current, which can be a problem when trying to qualify. At Upsolve our Illinois Means Test calculators are always kept current to the day, every day. Means test numbers change periodically, so it’s important to make sure you are using one that has the right figures. Upsolve can help you with the bankruptcy Means Test in Illinois. Upsolve is a nonprofit organization that can help you complete every step of the Illinois bankruptcy process for free to make sure your debts are discharged. 

What Happens If I Fail The Means Test for Illinois

If you don’t pass the bankruptcy Means Test in Illinois, take a moment to make sure you didn’t make any mistakes while calculating your income. Even a slight mistake can throw off your calculations. You should go over all of your monthly expenses to make sure you didn’t miss anything. It’s important to be exact when calculating your monthly expenses so that your figures are precise. If you find there are no errors after reviewing everything, you may want to consider whether your situation may change in the near future. The bankruptcy Means Test in Illinois averages your last six months of income to determine if you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your income recently decreased, it may be better to wait to file. For example, if you work a seasonal position you may want to wait until after your busy season to file. Another consideration to keep in mind is whether your family size will change in the near future. For example, if you are expecting, you may want to wait until your family grows so that you may qualify for a Chapter 7 case due to a larger family size and the resulting increase in expenses. It’s important to note that these are a few examples of changes that can occur but there are many others to look into. If your income and family size are not about to change, you should consider meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer. A bankruptcy lawyer can help you go over the Chapter 7 Means Test to make sure that you didn’t miss anything. Many bankruptcy lawyers give free consultations which can be beneficial and also give you the chance to learn more about filing your Illinois bankruptcy as a Chapter 13 instead. 

Written By:

Attorney Karra Kingston


Ms. Kingston began her career as a bankruptcy attorney. She has appeared in front of many federal court judges and has helped numerous debtors obtain a fresh start. Ms. Kingston understands the complex federal rules for discharging debt. While working as a bankruptcy attorney, Ms... read more about Attorney Karra Kingston

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