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Dealing with Veteran Benefits While Declaring Bankruptcy

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Veterans facing bankruptcy typically ask if their benefits should be included on Schedule 1.

Schedule 1 is a form required by the bankruptcy court, and it is otherwise referred to as Current Income of Individual Debtor. If you are a veteran, and are filing for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 13 or Chapter 7, then this form must be included. If you have a spouse, there is a place for them to be added on the form. While these forms may seem complex, if they are discussed with a qualified Iowa bankruptcy lawyer, most of the questions would be clearly answered.

As with many rules and regulations, there are some exemptions to this rule. In this instance, there are certain items that are considered to be exempt from liquidation under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Those exemptions include alimony, child support, Social Security, unemployment and veteran’s benefits. Even though the veteran’s benefits are exempt, they are still used to calculate a debtor’s financial situation.

For example, if a veteran is getting regular wages, those need to be listed in Schedule I as the gross amount along with any overtime. Any payroll deductions must be taken off wages for the net take home pay. For items 7 to 13, if the veteran debtor has other forms of income, these must be listed. Section 11 would be the area in which to include veteran’s benefits, on the line that asks for ‘Other Monthly Income.’

If a veteran is in a situation where Veteran’s Affairs is only paying them benefits temporarily for a disability, such as an illness that they will recover from, they need to know when the payments end within the year. Then, they would fill in line 17 on Schedule 1 outlining the reasons the benefit is temporary. Again, theses forms can be filled out with the help of an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer.

While filling out all the forms may seem unnecessary, they are required in order to match them up with the means test that all debtors must go through to determine their eligibility for filing bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. There is always the possibility that an applicant does not qualify, and this is something that can be figured out with the assistance of a skilled Iowa bankruptcy lawyer. For those that do not qualify for Chapter 13, they may instead, be eligible for Chapter 7. It all depends on the means test and the corollary information filed to initiate the process of seeking bankruptcy protection.

Although Schedule I is used for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, the Chapter 13 forms will demonstrate to the trustee how much money is being earned in the household. This, when paired with Schedule J listing debtor’s expenses, will show if there is enough income to pay back some of the debt or not.

Kevin Ahrenholz is an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer and Iowa bankruptcy attorney. To contact him, visit http://www.iowachapter7.com or call 1.877.888.1766.

Posted on Sunday, April 15th, 2012 and filed under News and Press.
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