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Frequently Asked Questions
BANKRUPTCY FEE WAIVER
IN ORDER TO RECEIVE A BANKRUPTCY COURT FEE WAIVER YOU MUST:
File without an attorney or BPP
Fall below 150% of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Poverty Guidelines , and
File for CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY (the fee waiver is not available for Chapter 13 filers).
This qualification for the court fee waiver is separate and more restrictive than the income qualification for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Even if you meet all the qualifications, you may be denied a fee waiver.
File your bankruptcy fee waiver request with your other bankruptcy paperwork as outlined in EZBankruptcyForms Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer tutorial. The bankruptcy fee waiver application is supplimentary to the rest of your bankruptcy paperwork. All your other forms should contain information that verifies the income information that you have entered on your bankruptcy fee waiver application. EZBankruptcyForms bankruptcy software can help greatly with the preparation of your bankruptcy paperwork.
You will receive your “Fee Waiver” answer from the bankruptcy judge within 10 days after filing (in most states, there is a "fee waiver court date" set for the day after you file for bankruptcy). The
judge can only waive the fee if your income is below 150% of the HHS Poverty Guidelines for your family size, and you can prove that you cannot afford to pay the fee in installments of 4 to 6 months. EVEN IF YOU PASS THE INCOME REQUIREMENTS, BEING APPROVED FOR THE BANKRUPTCY COURT FEE WAIVER IS SUBJECT TO THE BANKRUPTCY JUDGE (since November 1, 2011, it has become significantly harder to be approved for a fee waiver, and the judge may require supporting evidence, such as permanent disability, to approve the fee waiver). If the judge denies the waiver, then you will have to make payment arrangements to pay the fee in installments. Failure to make payments in a timely manner or failing not to pay will result in the court dismissing your bankruptcy case.
WHY YOUR APPLICATION FOR A BANKRUPTCY COURT FEE WAIVER WILL BE DENIED IF YOU USE A LAWYER OR BANKRUPTCY PETITION PREPARER (BPP)
The logic is that if you can afford to pay an Attorney or BPP, you can afford to pay the court fee. Any lawyer or BPP that accepts money to help you must declare so on your bankruptcy paperwork. Once it is proven that you have paid someone to assist you, you are no longer eligible for a fee waiver.