The Eight Circuit Bankruptcy  Appellate Panel denied an application seeking to discharge student loans because the debtor voluntarily quit a full-time job eight months prior to filing bankruptcy.

The debtor, Erin Kemp, is a 36-year-old single mom raising a 13-year-old daughter in Arkansas.  She obtained a psychology degree in 2010 and for the past 17 years she worked for a bank earning up to $45,000 per year.  However, eight months prior to filing bankruptcy she quit her full-time bank job due to problems with depression and anxiety and took a part-time job at Lowe’s earning $13.46 per hour. She supplemented her income by performing home daycare services as well.


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Winter Town

Last week the bankruptcy court for the Western District of Missouri discharged $37,243 of federal student loans for Michael Abney despite the fact that he was not required to make any payment on his account under an Income Based Repayment plan (IBR). (See In re Abney)

The facts of the case are as follows:

Ten

Ten years ago this month the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) became effective. The act was designed to make filing bankruptcy more difficult by requiring filers to provide more information to court trustees that supervise the process and by installing a mathematical formula to keep higher income debtors out of chapter 7.

Student Loan

Private Student Loans are the single worst debt in existence.  They lack any formal Income Based Repayment (“IBR”) plans and the debts are generally not discharged in bankruptcy without undergoing expensive litigation and claiming a special hardship.  In recent years, the National Collegiate Student Loan Trust, the largest holder of private student loans, has filed

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New York attorney Austin C. Smith writes an important article in the American Bankruptcy Institute under the heading The Misinterpretation of 11 U.S.C. 523(a)(8) suggesting that federal courts have been misapplying the student loan exception to discharge since 1990.

Section 523(8) of the Bankruptcy Code provides that bankruptcy does not discharge an individual debtor from