Strange Days: Means Test Numbers Don’t Make Sense

21 Mar Strange Days: Means Test Numbers Don’t Make Sense

Consumer bankruptcy debtors must complete a series of calcuations based on their median income from the six months prior to bankruptcy– in order to complete one of two forms, either Form 22A for Chapter 7 debtors or Form 22C for Chapter 13 debtors, using standards supplied originally by the IRS/Census Bureau.   Those standards were recently updated by the United States Trustee Program.

The “standards”, often a source of controversy, continue to be problematic.   For example, the new standards, effective March 15, 2009, offer allowances for 1-4 person households.   The housekeeping expenses are more for a two-person household than a three-person household.   Hmmm… this because the consumer is expected to shop in bulk and therefore save money?  Or was no one paying attention?

The chart is below:

Collection Financial Standards for Food, Clothing and Other Items
Expense One Person Two Persons Three Persons Four Persons
Food  $285 $537 $626 $752
Housekeeping supplies $28 $66 $61 $74
Apparel & services $86 $162 $209 $244
Personal care products & services     $31 $55 $59 $65
Miscellaneous $87 $165 $197 $235
Total $517 $985 $1,152 $1,370


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I'm a consumer protection lawyer in Oregon, working with people in Klamath; Lake; Jackson; Josephine; Curry; and Deschutes County. I speak regularly on bankruptcy and consumer protection issues nationwide.
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