Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Filing Attorney for Members of the Military Filings
Members of the military have the same rights as ordinary civilians. One of these rights is the right to file for protection under the Bankruptcy Code. Whether someone is a member of the military or a civilian, they often have misconceptions regarding the bankruptcy process. Our experienced Philadelphia bankruptcy lawyers are prepared to answer any questions or concerns you have.
Depending on their financial situation, members of the armed forces could benefit from Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Service personnel does not forfeit their right to the many protections and advantages filing for bankruptcy provides.
Filing for bankruptcy is never an easy decision. However, many people, especially military personnel, do not understand the benefits filing for bankruptcy provides. Because of fears based on misinformation, too many people continue to struggle through economic hardships without a plan. To discuss your options in securing your financial future, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 701-6519.
Military Personnel and Personal Bankruptcy in Pennsylvania
When someone serves in the military, there are specific expectations as an individual representing their country to conduct themselves in a certain manner while maintaining a level of decency in their daily life. However, this does not mean that military personnel is immune from financial difficulties, poor decisions, or accidents.
Many individuals who serve in the military face additional costs and hurdles that do not occur in ordinary situations – especially if they are stationed overseas or in another state outside their residence. These difficulties often result in economic hardship.
Like civilians, many members of the military are reluctant to file bankruptcy, fearing it would hurt their reputation or impact their careers. However, like for people outside the U. S. Armed Forces, filing for bankruptcy is often the best way to help reestablish a firm financial foothold.
That does not mean that bankruptcy is without its disadvantages. To ensure security and protect national interests, the military has regulations to ensure a service member’s finances are in order. Military personnel undergo extensive background checks to obtain security clearances. Unfortunately, filing for bankruptcy could adversely affect an individual’s ability to work in certain sectors of the armed forces. It is important to speak with a superior officer to understand the impact of filing for bankruptcy.
One of the first questions asked during these background checks is whether a military member has ever had a delinquent account over 180 days. There will also be questions regarding wage garnishments, judgments, or any other collection actions taken against them because of outstanding debt. In the vast majority of cases, these events will have happened prior to filing for bankruptcy.
The Chapter 7 Means Test and Military Personnel.
An individual or couple filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy must pass a means test. This calculation is used to determine if someone qualifies for Chapter 7 based on their median household income. If a filer fails their means test, they might be required to file for Chapter 13 instead.
However, disabled veterans could be freed from this requirement. To be eligible to bypass the means test, a disabled veteran’s debts must have been incurred while on active duty or engaged in a homeland defense activity. To be considered a disabled veteran under the Bankruptcy Code, a veteran must have a disability rating of 30% or more. Additionally, a veteran would be considered disabled for purposes of the means test if they were discharged from active service due to a disability that was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
Members of a reserve unit of the U.S. Armed Forces or the National Guard who were called to active duty or engaged in a homeland defense activity for at least 90 days after September 11, 2001, are also excluded from the means test while on active duty. This exemption extends for the following 540 days after their service is concluded. It is important to remember that this exclusion is only temporary. If you are a veteran or member of the armed forces, speak with one of our experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys to discuss the means test.
Bankruptcy and Security Clearances
One concern military personnel have is how filing for bankruptcy will affect their security clearances. In most situations, whether filing for bankruptcy will adversely impact your security clearances depends on various factors, including the type and age of debts you had, your job performance, and your relationships with fellow service members and your superiors.
Typically, having a significant amount of outstanding debt or defaults will jeopardize your security clearance. These problems exist well before someone begins contemplating filing for bankruptcy. Depending on your circumstances, filing for bankruptcy might improve your position because it is often seen as a positive step in righting your economic ship.
Nonetheless, our Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyers are unable to give you a definitive answer. A determination regarding security clearance is generally made on a case-by-case basis. It is critical to speak with your commanding officer to discuss how filing for bankruptcy will affect your situation.
If You are in the Military and Thinking About Filing for Bankruptcy, Call Our Experienced Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Lawyers
Members of the military make many sacrifices to serve their country. However, they do not sacrifice their right to the protections and benefits available under the Bankruptcy Code. Just because someone is serving in the armed forces does not mean that they do not have the same financial problems that plague civilians. At Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, our Bucks County bankruptcy attorneys are proud to provide our veterans and active military personnel with professional legal representation. Do not let your economic difficulties grow worse. Call our law offices at (215) 701-6519.