• May unemployment pay be garnished to pay my debts?

In Florida, unemployment benefits are not particularly generous (or fast) so the first question is whether unemployment benefits may be garnished by a creditor. NO they may not be “garnished” except for child support. Although other forms of income and bank accounts may be garnished.

If you would like to keep some of your property, get rid of some debt outright and minimize other debts, a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the answer. You can set your own appointment, or call or write us at Merritt Law Office to set your FREE ½ hour financial strategy session to discuss options.

  • If I’m receiving Unemployment, may I file Bankruptcy?

Yes. Bankruptcy is driven by a “means test” which compares your monthly income to governmentally determined approximations of “middle-class” income called “median income”. If your “household income”, that is the total income of a household is above median you are presumed to qualify for Chapter 7. If you are above median you are presumed to be ineligible for Chapter 7 and need to consider Chapter 13.

Below is the Florida Median Income chart for November, 2020. Although this number changes periodically it stays fairly constant – if you are above median today, you may not be in a few months.

Florida Median Income

(6 months by family size)









  • Add $4,500 for each add’l family member

For example, if you’re a husband, wife and child (3) living in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Lakeland area, your median income is measured by federal standards for three (3) member families living in the same area. In our example, using the chart above, our three-member family qualifies for Chapter 7 if their combined gross income in the last 6 full months is below $34,472. For comparison, median income for a family of three in California is approximately $10,000 more than in Florida.

If your family income in the last six full months is below “median” you presumably qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and your debts may be discharged.

  • Is Bankruptcy available to me if I don’t qualify for Chapter 7?

Yes. Even if you’re above median income you can file Chapter 13 bankruptcy and can discharge some debts outright while paying only what you can afford on others.

At Merritt Law Office, P.A. we want to help you keep up the good fight if you’re being harassed in all your consumer law matters like debt collection, foreclosure and eviction. Don’t Give Up, Don’t Give In!

Complete our online Questionnaire and we’ll email you a link to set your ½-hour FREE financial strategy session or you can call us from your cellphone/tablet:

Polk County : (863) 606-8843 OR

Hillsborough/Pinellas Counties: (813) 333-5711