Tightening Your Belt: Inequities and Inconsistencies Regarding the Treatment of Food, Prescription Drugs, and Cigarettes In the United States Bankruptcy Code

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Tightening Your Belt: Inequities and Inconsistencies Regarding the Treatment of Food, Prescription Drugs, and Cigarettes In the United States Bankruptcy Code

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Title: Tightening Your Belt: Inequities and Inconsistencies Regarding the Treatment of Food, Prescription Drugs, and Cigarettes In the United States Bankruptcy Code
Author: Bramson, Jeffrey Scott
Citation: Jeffrey Scott Bramson, Tightening Your Belt: Inequities and Inconsistencies Regarding the Treatment of Food, Prescription Drugs, and Cigarettes In the United States Bankruptcy Code (April 2011)
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Abstract: Debtors seeking to file bankruptcy may do so under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. In either case, the bankruptcy system must determine what expenses will be allowed for the debtor in bankruptcy, including for substances such as food, drugs, and cigarettes. This paper examines the treatment of these three substances by the Bankruptcy Code and judges, based on the three standards that appear in the Code: (1) what is allowed by the IRS National Standards, (2) what would constitute “abuse” of the system, and (3) what expenses are “reasonably necessary.” We then discuss five adverse effects that result from these provisions, including horizontal inequities between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, unfair geographical variations, vertical inequities between wealthier and poorer debtors, inconsistent judicial application of the rules, and inconsistency between the bankruptcy regime and other federal agencies and priorities.
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Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:8789563

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