The Bankruptcy Code is full of specific dollar limitations and allowances. These figures include dollar limits on eligibility for use of Chapter 13 and many other amounts, such as the value of exemptions permitted to bankruptcy debtors under 11 USC §522. All of these dollar amounts are adjusted by the amount of change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers in the manner set out in 11 USC §104(a), a part of the bankruptcy code. The adjustment occurs every three years on April 1st and is based on the amount of change that has occurred over the previous three years ending December 31 the year before the adjustment. Dollar amounts are rounded to the nearest $25 and the adjustment applies to other limits set forth in the bankruptcy code.
The Judicial Conference of the United States has given notice of the changes going into effect for cases filed after March 31, 2022. Chapter 13 cases are now permitted for individuals with unsecured debts of no more than $465,275 and secured debts of no more than $1,395,875 in all cases filed April 1, 2022, and later. This is an increase of more than $25,000, about the same amount of increase announced in 2019 for unsecured debt. Secured debt increased by $138,025 over the Chapter 13 limit previously imposed.
In states where federal exemptions are allowed, such as Oregon, the federal homestead exemption will be increased to $27,900 per person. The federal exemption for a car is now $4,450, probably an inadequate exemption in view of the supply related increases for vehicles occasioned by COVID-19 influenced supply shortages of computer chips.
Under the statute governing many federal bankruptcy dollar limitations, if the amount is indexed with an increase due to inflation, it must go up by at least $25. While many states have opted out of federal exemptions and limit bankruptcy exemptions to those provided in state statute, many other dollar amounts apply to all cases filed in bankruptcy court. Federal exemptions were allowed in Oregon as of July 1, 2013. These new dollar figures will only come into play for filings on or after the April 1, 2022 effective date, but they may allow more flexibility in Chapter 13 filings.