BANKRUPTCY FAQ: MEDIAN INCOME FIGURES FOR NEW JERSEY BANKRUPTCY CASES EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 2020

New Jersey median income changes effective November 1, 2020, will impact bankruptcy cases. The U.S. Trustee Program announced updated information on New Jersey median incomes. The changes are important for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases and Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayments.

New Jersey Median Income

If you file bankruptcy, the median income for your family size is used to determine if you qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The median income for New Jersey for cases filed on or after November 1, 2020 is:

Family Size of 1:  $71,064

Family Size of 2:  $87,432

Family Size of 3:  $111,046

Family Size of 4:  $132,708

More information can be found here.

Typically, your family size is typically determined by your most recent income tax return and the dependents claimed. However, there are many situations that require a more detailed review to determine the appropriate “family size”.

Comparison to Prior Median Income

The last effective change in the bankruptcy median income figures was effective May 1, 2020. You can find the figures that are currently in effect here.

Surprisingly, the November 1, 2020, median income figures represent an increase across all family sizes compared with the figures for May 1, 2020, and November 1, 2019.

The increase in New Jersey median incomes is surprising considering the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment in 2020. However, the current income figures were likely calculated prior to large changes in the economy since March 2020.

What Does the Median Income Mean?

The Median Income for New Jersey family sizes is a critical part of bankruptcy options.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

In simple terms, an individual (or married couple) who makes less than the median income qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. However, it is important to understand that this alone does not necessarily mean you should file for Chapter 7.

Also, if you want to learn more about how the median income impacts Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, go to our article “Do I Qualify for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Finally, in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case, the median income determines the “commitment period” of a Chapter 13 Plan. This means how long a person – or married couple – have to pay the Chapter 13 trustee their “disposable income”. Here is an explanation of “commitment period” provided by the Bankruptcy Court.

Remember it is always important to review this information with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

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