Dollar Amount Increases in Bankruptcy Code

By William Houston Brown, United States Bankruptcy Judge, Retired; Editor/Adviser, The Academy

On April 1, 2019, an increase takes effect in those dollar amounts in the Bankruptcy Code that are subject to adjustment every three years.1 The following increases have significance in everything from the eligibility maximums for filing under Chapters 12 and 13 to the debtor’s exemptions.

Relevant Official Bankruptcy Forms and Director’s Forms are amended to reflect these changes.

The increases in order of section numbers in the Code, with a brief description of the subject, are as follows:

Code Section Number Adjusted Dollar Amount
(April 1, 2019)
11 U.S.C.A. § 101(3) assisted person definition $204,425
11 U.S.C.A. § 101(18)(A) & (B)(ii) family farmer debt $4,411,400
(each time it appears)
11 U.S.C.A. § 101(19A)(A)(i) & (B)(ii)(II) family fisherman debt $2,044,225
(each time it appears)
11 U.S.C.A. § 101(51D)(A) & (B) small business debtor $2,725,625
(each time it appears)
11 U.S.C.A. § 109(e) Chapter 13 debt limits $419,275
(each time it appears)
11 U.S.C.A. § 303(b)(1) & (2) claim minimums for involuntary $16,750
(each time it appears)
11 U.S.C.A. § 507(a)(4) wage claims $13,650
11 U.S.C.A. § 507(a)(5) employee benefit claims $13,650
11 U.S.C.A. § 507(a)(6) grain and fish claims $6,725
11 U.S.C.A. § 507(a)(7) deposit claims $3,025
11 U.S.C.A. § 522(d)(1) homestead exemption $25,150
11 U.S.C.A. § 522(d)(2) vehicle exemption $4,000
11 U.S.C.A. § 522(d)(3) personal property exemption $625
11 U.S.C.A. § 522(d)(4) jewelry exemption $1,700
11 U.S.C.A. § 522(d)(5) wildcard exemption $1,325
11 U.S.C.A. § 522(d)(6) tools of trade exemption $2,525
11 U.S.C.A. § 522(d)(8) life insurance exemption $13,400
11 U.S.C.A. § 522(d)(11)(D) personal injury exemption $25,150
11 U.S.C.A. § 522(f)(3)(B) lien avoidance cap $6,825
11 U.S.C.A. § 522(f)(4)(B) household goods cap $725
(each time it appears)
11 U.S.C.A. § 522(n) IRA cap $1,362,800
11 U.S.C.A. § 522(p)(1) homestead exemption cap $170,350
11 U.S.C.A. § 522(q)(1) homestead exemption cap $170,350
11 U.S.C.A. § 523(a)(2)(C)(i)(I) consumer debt aggregate $725
11 U.S.C.A. § 523(a)(2)(C)(i)(II) cash advance aggregate $1,000
11 U.S.C.A. § 541(b)(5)(C) education IRA aggregate $6,825
11 U.S.C.A. § 541(b)(6)(C) tuition credit aggregate $6,825
11 U.S.C.A. § 541(b)(10)(C) qualified ABLE funds aggregate $6,825
11 U.S.C.A. § 547(c)(9) consumer debt preference minimum $6,825
11 U.S.C.A. § 707(b)(2)(A)(i)(I) & (II) consumer debt thresholds $8,175
11 U.S.C.A. § 707(b)(2)(A)(ii)(IV)
private school limit
11 U.S.C.A. § 707(b)(2)(B)(iv)(I) $8,175
11 U.S.C.A. § 707(b)(2)(B)(iv)(II) $13,650
11 U.S.C.A. § 707(b)(5)(B) small business threshold $1,375
11 U.S.C.A. § 707(b)(6)(C) median family income $750
11 U.S.C.A. § 707(b)(7)(A)(iii) median family income $750
11 U.S.C.A. § 1322(d)(1)(C) & (2)(C) median family income $750
(each time it appears)
11 U.S.C.A. §1325(b)(3)(C)
& (4)(A)(ii)(III) median family income
(each time it appears)
11 U.S.C.A. § 1326(b)(3)(B) Chapter 7 trustee payments $25 (no increase)
28 U.S.C.A. § 1409(b)
Trigger points for trustee’s monetary judgment suits


[1] 11 U.S.C.A. § 104(b)(1) provides for the automatic adjustment every three years beginning April 1, 1998, with the adjustment to reflect the change in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers.

Bill-BrownThe Honorable William Houston Brown retired in 2006 as a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Tennessee, and he had been designated to sit also in the Middle District of Tennessee, Southern District of Florida, Eastern District of Michigan and Western District of Kentucky. Judge Brown served a four-year term on the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Sixth Circuit from 1999 through 2002. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where he was Order of the Coif. Judge Brown is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, having served on its Board and Executive Committee, and he is a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy. He is the author or co-author of several texts, including Bankruptcy Exemption Manual, 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Legislation with Analysis 1st and 2d editions, Bankruptcy and Domestic Relations Manual, The Law of Debtors and Creditors, as well as bankruptcy form books, all published by Thomson West. He is also a principal contributing editor for Norton Bankruptcy Law and Practice 3rd, published by Thomson West. Judge Brown prepares a quarterly update of consumer cases for the Federal Judicial Center, which distributes those materials to all bankruptcy judges, and he is a speaker at the Federal Judicial Center’s annual seminars for bankruptcy judges. He also speaks regularly at seminars throughout the United States, on consumer bankruptcy topics. Judge Brown co-authors Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 4th ed., a digital publication, available at Judge Brown also acts as a mediator in bankruptcy-related disputes, has conducted mock trials, and has testified as an expert witness in bankruptcy court proceedings.

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