Typically, individuals who file bankruptcy have a choice between filing a chapter 7 “liquidation” and a chapter 13 “reorganization”. Individuals who are determined to have disposable income under the Means Test only have the option of filing chapter 13 and repaying their creditors. However, individuals still have to meet certain eligibility requirements to file chapter 13.
First, only individuals may file chapter 13. Small businesses and corporations can only reorganize under chapter 11. Chapter 13 was designed to be a simpler, more efficient way to reorganize and therefore is only available to individuals. Furthermore, stockbrokers and commodity brokers are excluded from filing chapter 13.
Second, individuals filing chapter 13 must have “regular income”, i.e. wages, business or rental income, alimony or child support, or retirement income. In other words, a chapter 13 repayment is not possible if there is no consistent source of income to repay creditors.
Finally, when filing chapter 13, an individual cannot have more than $383,175 in unsecured debt and cannot have secured debts totaling more than $1,149,525. The debt limit includes non-dischargeable debt like student loans. Again, this reinforces the idea that chapter 13 is meant to be a simpler version of chapter 11 and the more debt a person has, the more complicated their bankruptcy will likely be.