Summary: Certain types of income (mainly social security and veterans disability) is excluded from the means test. Some people are not required to take a means test at all.

Income That Does Not Count Towards Means Test

Your household income is used to determine whether you have enough money to pay back a significant portion of your debt. These types of income do not count toward the means test.

  • All types of social security
  • Veterans disability, including some medical military retirement pay
  • Compensation for catastrophic injuries or illness paid to military members
  • Combat-related special compensation paid by the DOD
  • Disability severance pay
  • Survivor benefits paid in connection with the death of a service member
  • Disability-related military retired pay

Cases Where No Means Test May Be Required

  • The majority of debts are non-consumer debts, such as taxes or business debt;
  • Disabled veterans meeting specific criteria;
  • Individuals on or after performing homeland defense under specific circumstances;
  • National Guard members and reservists under certain circumstances;
  • Regular, full-time active duty military.

Even though you pass a means test or don’t have to file one, your right to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may still be challenged. If the “totality of the circumstances” shows that it would not be fair for you to discharge debt in Chapter 7, the US Trustee may challenge your case. This is usually done by a motion to dismiss or convert to Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Read more about Qualifying for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Read more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you think your income may be close to, or above, the income in the tables, read about Chapter 13 bankruptcy and the muscle it can provide in debt relief.