Bankruptcy Means Test — Am I Eligible?

Bankruptcy is never anyone’s first choice to get out of debt, but it can be an effective option if you’re eligible. If you’re struggling with debt in Australia, you might be wondering if there’s a bankruptcy means test you can take. 

What is a bankruptcy means test? This is a test you can take to determine if you’re eligible to file for debt forgiveness through bankruptcy. In many parts of the world, a means test takes into consideration your income, expenses, and family size to determine if this type of debt solution is right for you.

However, many are surprised to learn that Australia doesn’t actually have a bankruptcy means test. Instead, there are different thresholds and criteria to help determine if bankruptcy is the right fit for you. In this guide, we’ll explain what it means to be eligible for bankruptcy in Australia. 

Is There a Minimum or Maximum Debt to Be Eligible?

There are a lot of myths about bankruptcy in Australia. Because few people feel comfortable talking openly about their money and debts, it’s no wonder there is so much mystery around how a bankruptcy means test would work. 

In reality, there is no minimum or maximum debt needed to be eligible for bankruptcy. There is also no minimum or maximum income needed. That means you can apply if you have any level of debt or income. 

You can apply for bankruptcy as long as you meet 2 key requirements:

  • You’re unable to pay your debts when they’re due
  • You’re present in Australia or have a residential or business connection to Australia

As long as the above are true, you pass the so-called bankruptcy means test. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean this is the right debt solution for your needs. To determine that, you’ll need to consider the bigger picture. 

What to Consider When Filing for Bankruptcy

Before you start the bankruptcy process, look at your current situation and long-term goals. All of your circumstances together can help you recognize if this is the best debt solution to meet your needs. Some things to consider include:

  • Home ownership: If you own a home or property, you could lose your home as a way to repay your debts. There are only some situations where you can keep your family home. 
  • Occupation: Bankruptcy doesn’t always impact your employment, but there are some industries where you’ll be unable to hold a licence if you have a declared bankruptcy. This includes finance, real estate, and more. 
  • The long-term effects: The most important thing to consider is the long-term effect of bankruptcy. When you file to have your debts erased or paused, this stays on your credit for 5 years or 2 years from when your bankruptcy ends. 

Ultimately, you should choose to declare bankruptcy if there are no other options that fit your unique situation. There are instances where bankruptcy is the best way forward. Even still, you should work with a financial expert to ensure you’re making the right choice. 

Bankruptcy Alternatives

If you’ve considered the bankruptcy means test and realized it might not be the best debt solution for you, there are several other alternatives that offer a better long-term outlook. Aside from proper budgeting and preparing for long-term savings, one of these options might be a good fit:

  • Debt agreement: Many lenders are comfortable entering a debt agreement to come to an arrangement that works for your repayment. Whether you delay payment for a few months or pay less temporarily, this could be a good short-term option for relief. 
  • Debt consolidation: Another choice is debt consolidation. This is when you merge your debts into a single debt, usually through a debt consolidation loan. This results in a lower interest rate and a single payment. 
  • Refinancing: Many loans and debts, including mortgages, can be refinanced to secure a lower-cost payment you can afford. 

There are a lot of options depending on your situation that help you avoid bankruptcy. Declaring bankruptcy is a last resort, though it’s certainly a valid, effective choice when the situation is right. 

Is Bankruptcy Right for You?

If you’re unable to pay your debts on time and you’re struggling to find a way forward, bankruptcy might be the right option for you. However, before making the decision, be sure to consider the big picture and your long-term goals.

While bankruptcy can be great for the right individual, it also has long-term negative effects that shouldn’t be overlooked. Think through every avenue before taking the next big step.
If you’re not sure whether bankruptcy is right for you, contact Debt Busters today. With over 10 years helping Aussies solve their financial problems, we’re here for you every step of the way. We can review your unique situation to determine whether bankruptcy or another debt solution is the right path forward.

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Debt Busters is an Australian owned business which was founded in 2005 - since then we have been able to help thousands regain financial control.

Debt Busters prides itself on providing a dedicated Client Service Manager to work closer with you and provide a higher level of customised service about your situation.