Brunner Test

Brunner Test Student Loans

Brunner Test Calculator

You have to pass a “Brunner Test” to determine whether you meet the undue hardship requirement for student loan discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You have to show the court that repaying your loans will cause you to go through hardship or undue hardship.  Not all courts will require you to use the Brunner test but will instead focus on the totality of circumstances.

This is called the totality test and it involves you presenting all the factors you feel are relevant to your hardship argument.

Factors Courts Consider When Using The Brunner Test

Student Loans Bankruptcy

Brunner TestThe Brunner test is a three-part system a court uses to determine whether you are experiencing undue hardship or ordinary hardship. This test focuses on your current income, income, and your student loan debt to see if it is possible for you to pay back your lenders. If the court determines paying your student loans will cause undue hardship, it will erase all or part of your student debt.

The factors the court considers include:

  • You will not be able to maintain a minimal standard of living for yourself and your family when you are made to repay the loans
  • You are currently in a poor financial situation and this situation is not likely to change any time soon
  • You have never made an attempt to avoid paying your student loans and have demonstrated that you made an effort to repay them

How Can You Pass The Brunner Test?

Brunner Test Undue Hardship

You have to prove the following to pass a Brunner Test:

  • You are having difficulty providing monthly basics that you and your family need. These include food, car expenses, rent, and utilities. Your income is what will help you prove this.
  • There is no possibility now and in the future that you are going to earn a higher income. This would be easier to prove if you are injured and have some disabilities. But an experienced lawyer can testify on your behalf about your future income before the court.
  • You made efforts to repay your student loans in good faith. Your lawyer can help you prove this using a chart that shows your yearly earnings and the loan payments you made.

Is The Court Likely To Erase Your Student Loan Debt?

What Is The Brunner Student Loan Discharge?

It is not easy to convince courts to discharge your student loans. Passing the Brunner Test is no guarantee that a court will discharge your student loan debt.  But if you are over 50 years or older and are likely to remain poor for the rest of your life, the courts may be less reluctant to erase your student loan debt.

Are There Other Ways To Get Help With Your Debt?

What Is The Brunner Standard?

There are other methods that can offer relief from paying your student loan debt. Some examples include:

  • You can consolidate loans for a lower interest rate
  • Get a break from payments through deferment or forbearance
  • Seek cancellation of loans based on other factors

Deferment, forbearance, discharge, and consolidation are government programs that you should research and see whether they can be of any help. Talk to an experienced bankruptcy lawyer for advice on these matters.