COVID-19 and Bankruptcy – Video

COVID-19 and Bankruptcy – Video Overview

Bankruptcy Attorney Robert M. Geller discussed bankruptcy issues as they related to the COVID-19 crisis. Topics include: General information about COVID-19 financial hardship and bankruptcy.

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COVID-19 and Bankruptcy Video Transcript:

Good morning. My name is attorney Robert Geller. I am a consumer bankruptcy attorney in the Tampa Bay area and I want to talk to you today a little bit about the stimulus package and how the stimulus package may affect the bankruptcy laws and if you have a pending bankruptcy case, if you need bankruptcy services, or if you need to contact our law firm for any reason.

If you are already a client, please contact our law firm by emailing us at or if you want to call our office the number is (813) 405-1507.

If you are not a client and have questions about the bankruptcy process or need our services, please reach out to us at or you can call us at (813) 405-1509.

Of course there’s plenty of information on our firm’s website at and if you want, you are welcome to contact our office and we would be glad to give you a free copy of a book I wrote about bankruptcy law called Bankruptcy: Your Bridge to a Brighter Future. We can mail you an actual hard copy or send you a PDF, whatever you would like.

Alright, so let me talk a little bit about the stimulus package and then I want to talk a little bit about how the stimulus package may impact the bankruptcy courts or your bankruptcy case.

So there are basically three components to the stimulus package for most people. The first component is that if you make less than $75,000 and you file your tax returns, you will get $1,200 per adult in your household. If you’re a married couple, you’ll get $2400 if you make less than $150,000. If you have children, you’ll get an additional $500 per child. As long as the child is 16 or under. If you earn over $150,000, the amount you get goes down according to the package.

The IRS will deposit it directly into your account if you’ve received a tax refund in the last two years directly and your account information is the same. If not, you’ll receive your payment by mail. I think you’re going to get that money in the next three or so weeks. So that’s the first part.

The second part of the stimulus package is unemployment benefits. If you have suffered an unfortunate loss of employment or a reduction in your employment, you are entitled to unemployment benefits. And I believe the maximum in Florida is $275 per week.

Under the stimulus package, I think you’d be entitled to up to an additional $600 per week in unemployment benefits. So I would highly encourage you if you have had any reduction in income or loss of employment to apply for unemployment benefits as soon as possible.

The third thing that is a major part of the stimulus package for some of you is the business loan. So if you are in business and have suffered a reduction in your business and want to maintain your business, there are SBA loads out there that have very low interest. I think it’s half a percent and you can borrow from the SBA money to maintain your payroll and to maintain your rent. I think, though I’m not an expert on these loans, but looking into it you can even get a forgiveness of the loan if you are in business and if you use those for payroll or for rent. But double check that.

So next thing I wanted to talk about briefly is how the stimulus money can affect your bankruptcy.

First of all, if you’ve already filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy, and you’re going to get this stimulus money, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. If you are going to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy, as I said earlier, you may get that money in the next three weeks. I would suggest that you wait for it and use it for your normal monthly living expenses, and then file the chapter 7 bankruptcy.

If you’re considering filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy, again, wait until you get the money, depending on your situation. Some people do need to file immediately to stop a foreclosure or a garnishment or something like that, but if you can wait, wait.

If you are already in a chapter 13 bankruptcy and you get the stimulus money, I’m not really sure how your trustee will treat that money. Some courts I understand are letting you pay that money back over the life of your plan. I don’t know how aggressive or how unsympathetic your trustees will be about you keeping that money. I’ve talked to a couple of clients about it already and we will just wait and see. But that money might be what’s considered to be property of the estate and it may have to get paid back if you’re in a currently pending chapter 13 case.

The other thing I have been dealing a lot with is clients who are in chapter 13 who have suffered a reduction in their income. They want to know what’s going on with the bankruptcy court about that. I can tell you that different courts are doing different things.

I’ve heard that courts in Texas are just allowing you to skip three payments. I know that the Jacksonville court is allowing people to have a reduction by following a very simple document. Our main filings are in the middle district which covers anywhere between Hernando County all the way South to Hardy County, which is about a hundred mile radius. And the other part of that division is the Fort Meyer’s division, which goes all the way down to Naples.

I don’t think the judges have made any set decision as to how they’re going to allow people to change their cases if they’ve suffered a reduction of income. The only thing I can say is that under the stimulus package there is an allowance to potentially extend your plan for 84 months. Generally the most you can be in a plan for 60 months. Of course, the sooner you are done with your plan, the sooner you can get back into rebuilding your credit.

So that’s just some information as to how the stimulus package impacts the bankruptcy law. If you have any questions about bankruptcy or if you’re a current client, again, feel free to reach out to me. My name is attorney Robert Geller. Current clients can email us at or call us at (813) 405-1507.

If you’re not a client and you have some questions about the bankruptcy laws or you’re considering filing, you can use some of that stimulus money to file bankruptcy. If you want to know more, contact us at or give us a call at (813) 405-1509.

And just a couple other things. We are now doing video consultations or phone consultations right now to make everything convenient. We are doing everything remotely so you could potentially hire our firm without even leaving your home. You can also sign your bankruptcy remotely and even going to a court now, the 341 meetings are by telephone. It might be easier than ever for you to file bankruptcy. Thank you. I hope that this video finds you and your family healthy.

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