The word “household” appears in over a dozen sections of the Bankruptcy Code, but it is not defined in the Code. Household income and size are extremely important in bankruptcy and determine whether someone qualifies for a Chapter 7 or the length and amount of a plan payment in a Chapter 13. A debtor’s median income is determined by their family size.
In a Chapter 7, a bankruptcy debtor’s above – or below – median status determines whether the debtor is subject to the means test.
In a Chapter 13, a bankruptcy debtor’s status as above – or below median determines whether the debtor’s maximum plan term is three or five years. It also determines whether the debtor’s expenses, for the purpose of calculating the debtor’s projected disposable income, are based on the means test or Schedule J.