If you make above the median income, the means test has to be completed to determine whether you qualify to file chapter 7 without a presumption of abuse. However, if you are a member of the National Guard or Reserves, you may be exempt from the means test and able to file chapter 7 regardless of your income, if you meet the following criteria:
- You are member of the Army Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Coast Guard Reserve, Army National Guard or Air National Guard.
- Performed the following service for at least 90 days:
- Active duty after September 11, 2001, or
- Homeland Defense
The exemption is available up to 540 days after your service ended. As of today, if you performed your active service after April 21, 2014, you would qualify for the exception to the chapter 7 means test. This exception is only available to the party filing who meets the criteria. If you are filing chapter 7 and you meet the criteria above, the income of your spouse would still need to pass the means test to qualify to file chapter 7, regardless of your income being exempt from the means test.
Unfortunately, this exception is not available for all military service personnel. The reason this exception is limited to National Guard and Reserve members is that Congress found that a financial hardship is caused to those who are called to active duty from civilian life. If you are a disabled veteran, click here to find out if you may be exempt from the means test as well.
This exception is only available for chapter 7 until December 18, 2015, unless Congress extends the exemption. If you meet the above criteria, contact your local Bond and Botes office today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your financial options, including chapter 7.
Mary Pool is a shareholder of the Bond & Botes Law Offices in Montgomery and Opelika, Alabama. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Auburn University at Montgomery, and a Juris Doctorate from Faulkner University’s Jones School of Law. She has represented thousands of clients over her more than 11 years working in the bankruptcy field. Read her full bio here.