Means Test: Don’t Give Up, Even If You Think You’ve Flunked It, Part 15

24 Feb Means Test: Don’t Give Up, Even If You Think You’ve Flunked It, Part 15

One of the changes which became effective January 1, 2008, for the bankruptcy “means test” concerns expenses for health care. Lines 19B and 31 of Form B22 (chapter 7), and lines 24B and 36 of Form B22C (chapter 13), now constitute a two-part listing for health care expenses, including a minimum allowance you are entitled to claim, regardless of your actual health care expenses. These changes have made it a little easier for every debtor to pass the means test.

On line 19B or 24B, for each household member under age 65, you are automatically entitled to an expense of $54.00. For each household member age 65 or older, you are automatically entitled to an expense of $144,00. You are entitled to these amounts whether or not you actually incur expenses for health care.

Later in the means test form, on line 31 or 36, you are instructed to claim an added expense for health care, which was not adequately accounted for by the $54.00 or $144.00 per person standard allowance. As a result, the means test form allows you to accurately account for all health care expenses you incur on behalf of the members of your household. Just make sure to include the additional amounts on line 31 or 36.

For example, let’s say you incur an average of $195.00 per month on dental care, eyeglasses, cold medicine, aspirin or ibuprofin, vitamins, and doctor visit co-pays. On line 19B, as a thirty year old woman, you would list an expense of $54.00. On line 31, you would list an additional $141.00 to account for the difference. This results in all your health care expenses being deducted on the means test, which is a good thing.

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Craig W. Andresen is a consumer bankruptcy lawyer in Bloomington, Minnesota, with 22 years’ experience in consumer and small business bankruptcy cases. He is the Minnesota chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Section. Mr. Andresen lectures often on the topic of consumer bankruptcy at local and national legal seminars.
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