Credit Counseling

To be eligible to be a debtor in a bankruptcy case, an individual must complete an approved credit counseling course during the 180 days before the date the case is filed at the court. A debtor should not plan to complete the credit counseling course on the same day as the bankruptcy case is filed because more than a day may be required to process the certificate showing completion of the credit counseling requirement. After filing the bankruptcy case, a debtor also must complete a debtor education or personal financial management course to be eligible for a discharge of debts.

The credit counseling must be received in person, by telephone, or on-line over the Internet from an agency approved by the United States Trustee’s Program for the region in which the bankruptcy is filed. The credit counseling session should cost no more than $50 online and must last at least 90 minutes (actual time averages approximately 2 hours). A certificate showing completion of the course must be provided by the credit counseling agency to you or your bankruptcy attorney. That certificate must be filed with the petition to start of the bankruptcy case. A bankruptcy case will be dismissed by the court if the certificate is not filed with the petition and the debtor is not eligible for a rare exception to this requirement.

If the bankruptcy case is not filed within 180 days after completing credit counseling, the course must be repeated. Credit counseling agencies approved for debtors in Colorado are listed on the web sites of the Executive Office for United States Trustees (EOUST) and of the United States Trustee Program for Region 19. Many, but not all, of these agencies also offer non-bankruptcy debt management plans as well as to bankruptcy credit counseling. In addition to pre-bankruptcy credit counseling or pre-discharge debtor education, some agencies provide non-bankruptcy financial assistance or information on their web sites. Be sure to use a credit counseling agency on the list approved for the District of Colorado.

A debtor whose household income is less than 150 percent of the poverty guidelines established by the United States Department of Health and Human Services may be eligible for fee reductions or waivers. Proof of income is required for fee waivers. Check with debtor education providers for more specific information about the availability and qualifications for fee reductions or waivers.

Credit Counseling

Payment required to third-party provider

Certificate of completion must be filed with petition to start bankruptcy case, or case probably will be dismissed by the court