Tracking your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy progress will help you in reaching the finish line and obtain the discharge. By tracking your case on a regular basis you will know first hand when your payments have been received and what creditors have filed a proof of claim. Additionally you will know when the payments have been made on your case and for how much. Bankruptcy is like anything else in your life. If you want to succeed in this process YOU must be involved. The resource you are going to use to stay involved is National Data Center.
The National Data Center is a free online tool that you may use to track your case. Click on this link, then you will enter your last and first name. Next you will enter your case number and your social security number. You must enter your social security number to ensure that you can review your own case. Once you this information is entered to answer some security questions such as who is your trustee, what is your mailing address and a creditor that was listed on your petition. All this information can be obtained from the 341 Notice that you received from the court when you filed. If you no longer have this Notice you can request a copy from your attorney.
Once you enter this information you will pick a user name and password. Now you have created an online access to your case to track your progress. It is highly recommended that you access this information about the 5th of each month. Accessing your case on the 5th will show the payment received from the previous amount and how much was paid out on the first of the month. If you access this each month you will be able to verify if your payment has been received or if you need to run a trace on the payment. You will also be able print off reports for your records should you need them. This comes in handy if the trustee ever files a Motion to Dismiss for failure to pay. The report will show what payments the trustee has received and you can compare it to your canceled checks. It does not happen often but every once in a while the trustee does make a mistake.
You should also verify who has filed a proof claim in your case. If you owe a debt to GMAC for a car and GMAC does not file a claim, GMAC will not be paid. Although it is unusual for a secured creditor to not file a claim in your case it can happen. The downside to this is at the end of your case the lien against the vehicle is still valid. This means that you cannot trade or sell the vehicle without paying that lien. Liens survive bankruptcy. More common is that the IRS or other taxing agency has not filed a proof of claim. So you spend all that time and money paying into to Chapter 13 Plan specifically to pay back taxes only to find out the tax agency has not filed a proof of claim. At the end of your Chapter 13 Plan is not the time to discover that someone forgot to verify if the IRS filed a proof of claim.
The bottom line is if a creditor does not file a proof of claim in your Chapter 13 case the trustee cannot by law send them money. So get on the National Data Center website early and often to track your case. Tracking your case will keep you personally involved in your financial affairs and ensure a successful bankruptcy.
Remember that knowledge is power and the more knowledge you have to track your progress in the bankruptcy the more power you will have to succeed in obtaining your discharge.
Last modified: October 22, 2012