How is the Means Test Calculated?
There are two parts to the Chapter 7 means test. In the first part, your exact, actual monthly income for the six months prior to the month that you file for bankruptcy is reported. For example, if you file for bankruptcy in July of 2011, then your income for January 1, 2011 to June 30, 2011 is used to determine Chapter 7 bankruptcy qualification. Copies of paystubs, tax returns, and other supporting documents are required to be provided. Income includes all sources of income, such as gross wages, interest, business income, pensions, and unemployment. One exception is social security income, which is generally not considered for this test.
This six months of income is then annualized to a yearly income, which is then compared to the standard median family income for your area. If your annualized income is greater than the standard median family income, then to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to complete and pass the second, more detailed part of the means test.
The median family income is based on household income and number of members of your household. It includes all the income of your household, including the income of a non-filing husband or wife. The charts are available on the US Trustee / Department of Justice site.