Dear Congress: Please Scrap that Stupid Means Test

I spent the morning at the Self-Help Desk at the bankruptcy court in Woodland Hills.  I had a group of ten people or so and I was helping them understand the forms that they must complete to file chapter 7.  None of these people owned a home; only one had a car payment; one said she was homeless, a few get social security.  None were anywhere near the median income.  I suspect all will qualify for the filing fee waiver.

The whole presentation came to a screaming halt when we got to the means test forms.  First of all, it is a form I could not fill out myself without a computer program helping me.  But I assumed that because they were all bellow median, we could get through the form quickly.  I suddenly found myself facing spending half the afternoon helping each one individually fill out the form, partially because I had to sit there and read through it myself, then try to figure out what the household size was for each (and hear each of the explanations), what income or receipts to include into current monthly income.  The form wants to know the actual income for the past six months which none of them had at hand.

For what?  A two second glance at the I and J shows they are barely scrapping by and could not possibly fund a chapter 13 plan.  Before the means test, the US Trustee used to check the I and J to decide if there was abuse.  Lets go back to that.  The form today serves no purpose other than to scare away people trying to do the forms themselves.

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