Consumer Bankruptcy Counseling Project
Primary Issue Area:
Midway through the last decade, Congress revised the U.S. bankruptcy laws to make it more difficult for blue collar and middle class workers to obtain a discharge of their debts. The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (“BAPCPA”) was designed to restrict access in the following ways: requiring pre-filing credit counseling; imposing new liabilities and responsibilities on consumer bankruptcy attorneys that drive up the costs of filing and prosecuting consumer bankruptcy cases; imposing a means test to determine whether a given Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing is abusive and must be dismissed or converted to Chapter 11 or 13-- both of which offer less relief to the debtor. No comparable restrictions were imposed on commercial bankruptcies. Soon after passage, the U.S. economy was hit by a series of factors that lead to a dramatic increase in unemployment, plummeting residential real estate prices, the failure of the mortgage industry, an inability of homeowners to keep up with adjustable rate mortgage debts and escalating personal medical debt as people lost their job-based health insurance. In the last few years the total annual bankruptcy filings by consumer debtors were approximately 1.5 million cases. Sadly, many of these people struggle through costly debt management arrangements for years before reluctantly deciding that a bankruptcy discharge is their only way of moving forward and starting over. This Project was initiated to ameliorate some of the most predictably negative effects of BAPCPA by providing a low cost means for consumers to obtain the mandatory credit counseling course and the certificate verifying its completion. The program meets all requirements of the BAPCPA. It is approved to issue certificates in compliance with the Bankruptcy Code.* Consumer Bankruptcy Counseling provides this course in both English and Spanish on the internet at www.cbkc.info and charges $5 per certificate (the lowest fee available), while providing the course itself free of charge. A fee waiver is available for persons whose gross income does not exceed 150% of the applicable federal poverty guidelines. Both email (email@example.com and telephone support (415-758-2227) are provided in English and Spanish. *Approval does not endorse or assure the quality of an Agency's services.
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