During the 12-month period ending March 31, 2014, 1,006,609 non-business bankruptcy cases were filed. That’s over an 11% decrease over the same period in 2013 when 1,132,772 cases were filed. There had been ongoing speculation that the number of filings would continue to decrease as we have seen over the past few years with the gradual improvement of the economy. Since the peak of unemployment in recent years in October 2009 at 10%, unemployment is down to 6.3% as reported in April 2014.
U.S. Workers Struggling with Debt
While the U.S. economy has improved since the recession, many of the new jobs are being filled by part time or temporary (contract) workers. In the 1980s, contract workers made up for less than half of 1% but today account for 2.3%. Historically, part time and contract positions were primarily on the rise during recessions and then receded during recoveries. Currently, this has not been the case since part time workers have accounted for more than 10% of U.S. job growth since June 2009.
These workers consist of a diverse pool of security officers to freelance photographers to the self-employed and many are still underemployed and accumulating debt. While it appears that fewer are seeking bankruptcy as an option, many have sought other means of managing their debt. With options like debt consolidation and credit restoration, bankruptcy isn’t the only option for all. The highly criticized payday lending services are even growing in popularity with an estimated 12 million borrowers a year. It’s imperative that consumers struggling with debt do their research to avoid getting locked into these loan cycles with exorbitant interest rates.
The Cost of Bankruptcy: Fee Increases
A consultation with a bankruptcy attorney can help guide a consumer struggling with debt with the best option to pursue since usually a quick fix like a payday loan is not a long term solution. However, filing for bankruptcy also comes at a cost. Beginning June 1, the Bankruptcy Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule will include higher fees:
- $335 for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (up from $306)
- $310 for Chapter 13 bankruptcy (up from $281)
Other filing fees that will increase include:
- Chapter 9: $1,717
- Chapter 11: $1,717
- Chapter 12: $275
- Chapter 15: $1,717
- Adversary Proceeding: $350
Affordable Bankruptcy Courses
Affordable Bankruptcy Courses offers just that – an affordable option for your clients so they can quickly and easily fulfill their Credit Counseling and Debtor Education requirements. Without any hidden fees ever, your clients can get the first certificate for $15 and the second for $19 whether they file single or joint. The courses are available online in English and Spanish and there is no phone call required for certification. Help your clients take a step towards a brighter future by ordering our free, simple instruction cards.