WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to the American Bankruptcy Institute (“ABI”), the Senate has now included certain provisions in the $2 Trillion “Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act” (“CARES Act”) in order to provide greater access to bankruptcy relief. The Act, goes to the House, and , if passed, to President Trump.
According to ABI, certain provisions within Sect. 1113 of the CARES Act include:
- Amendments to the newly created Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (SBRA) to increase the eligibility threshold for businesses filing under new subchapter V of chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code from $2,725,625 of debt to $7,500,000. The eligibility threshold will return to $2,725,625 after one year. The increased debt limit for struggling small businesses to access subchapter V reflects recommendations of ABI’s Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11.
- Amending the definition of “income” in the Bankruptcy Code for chapters 7 and 13 to exclude coronavirus-related payments from the federal government from being treated as “income” for purposes of filing bankruptcy.
- Clarifying that the calculation of disposable income for purposes of confirming a chapter 13 plan shall not include coronavirus-related payments.
- Explicitly permitting individuals and families currently in chapter 13 to seek payment plan modifications if they are experiencing a material financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, including extending their payments for up to seven years after their initial plan payment was due.
The bankruptcy provisions of the CARES Act listed above sunset within a year of the legislation being enacted.
Additionally, Sect. 3513 of the legislative package provides temporary relief for federal student loan borrowers by requiring the Secretary of Education to defer student loan payments, principal, and interest for 6 months, through September 30, 2020, without penalty to the borrower for all federally owned loans. This provides relief for over 95 percent of student loan borrowers.
Eric N. Assouline, Esq.
Business Litigation Partner
ASSOULINE & BERLOWE, P.A.
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Miami, FL 33131
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