Completing the “Credit Counseling” Requirement
After the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 became law in October of 2005, individuals filing for bankruptcy relief are required to meet the “credit counseling requirement by completing two separate rounds of credit counseling:
- Before filing, you must complete the “pre-filing screening”, i.e. you must file with your petition proof that you have met with a counselor that has been certified by the U.S. Department of Justice in order to review your budget and your non-bankruptcy alternatives.
- After filing, but before you can receive your order of discharge at the end of the case, you must also complete a “personal financial management course”. Both of these requirements can be completed by visiting websites that we will refer you to so that you can complete the counseling online.
Katz & Wulff has reviewed most of the companies approved to provide the required counseling in this district and has selected the two that we feel represent the best value for our clients.
The pre-filing, pre-screening counseling can be completed by visiting Cricket Debt Counseling and clicking on the button that says “Click Here to Begin”. Please Note: Once you have attended your first appointment with the attorney in our office, you will be given a code to access the counseling session free of charge.
The post-filing, personal financial management course can be completed by visiting Hanan will Credit Counseling and clicking the button that says “Click Here to Complete the Second Course”. Our firm will cover the cost of this second course as well. You will be given instructions on how to access the course for free after your case is filed.
Accessing Your Case Information
You may find information about your Chapter 13 case at any time, day or night, by logging in to the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case Information National Data Center
- Has the Chapter 13 Trustee received my payment?
- What amounts have been paid to each of my creditors?
- How much have I paid into my Chapter 13 plan?
- When was my Chapter 13 case filed?
- When will my Chapter 13 plan be completed?
You will be asked to enter your username and password. If you do not have a username and password just click the hyperlink where it says “Click Here to get started” under the heading “Debtors” and follow the instructions. Once you have been assigned your username and password you can then access your case information at any time at your convenience.
Electronic Payment Options
If your Chapter 13 Trustee is Russell C. Simon (Southern Illinois) or Diana S. Daugherty (St. Louis/Eastern Missouri, you now have some new options available for making your Chapter 13 plan payments to the trustee in addition to automatic wage deduction or payment by mail:
TFS is an independent third-party company that provides a service allowing Chapter 13 debtors to have their monthly plan payments automatically drafted from their bank accounts each month. To participate, you must have internet access and a checking or savings account. We will set this up for you. After that, you will have complete control over your payments and can log in to your TFS account 24/7 to make any changes to the account, including the frequency and dates that your payments are drafted from your account, with just a few clicks.
TFS is available to our Chapter 13 clients with cases in the Southern District of Illinois (Trustee Russell Simon) and the Eastern District of Missouri (Trustee Diana Daugherty).
To enroll in the TFS system or obtain additional information; click here.
Using the ePay system, you can make individual payments to the trustee electronically. This is particularly helpful in making catch-up (“cure”) payments as well as paying any required portion of your annual income tax refunds. To participate, you must have internet access and a checking or savings account. The information required to set up a username and password consists of: (1) your bankruptcy case number, (2) the last four digits of your Social Security number, (3) your bank’s routing number (found at the bottom of your bank checks), and (4) your bank account number (also found at the bottom of your bank checks or on your bank statement). There is a bank service charge of $2.00 for each payment made using the ePay system. Additionally, if any payment is subsequently returned for insufficient funds (NSF), an additional fee of $5.00 will be assessed through your plan, as well as any charges that your bank may assess. Additionally, any returned payment will result in ePay privileges being immediately revoked.
Payments made using ePay will be posted to your case immediately, but will not be disbursed to creditors until after a 15-day hold. Additionally, no refunds of over-payments made via ePay will be refunded until expiration of 61 days after payment is received. This also applies to cases that have been dismissed or converted.
For more information about ePay or to register for the service, if your Chapter 13 Trustee in Southern Illinois, please click here. If your Chapter 13 Trustee is in St. Louis/Eastern Missouri, please click here.