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What if I can’t pay my surplus income?

Hi there, I was just advised that my bankruptcy period has been extended from 9 months to 21 months because I had a surplus income which I understand. However, the numbers were calculated against the superintendent’s figure of $1926 a month which I told my trustee was an unreasonable figure considering I’m living in Vancouver – one of the most expensive cities in Canada, and the world. My rent – which is already way below the industry level for a 2 bedroom is $1320 a month. I run my own business so I’m not sure how they would expect me to live off of $600 to fit into this national average standard of $1926. I needed a minimum of $2800 a month to survive and was earning an average of $3000. Each month I showed that I was barely scraping by but now I have to pay $531 a month for the next 12 months plus back pay $2931 for the last 9 months. I don’t have this money plus I have to keep HST/Income tax in mind. What if I simply can’t pay this amount because the numbers they suggest are not feasible to begin with and I need at least $2800 to survive in Vancouver? What will happen to me if I can’t pay it?

Posted from: British Columbia

One Response to “What if I can’t pay my surplus income?”

A licensed trustee said...

Unfortunately, the surplus limits are not adjusted for the different rgions of the country – they are the same no matter where you live (we hear complaints similar to yours in our Toronto offices all the time). You have two options:

1) request Mediation – this might reduce the amoutn you have to pay (probably not, but it is worth a try). What it will do is allow you to ask for more time to pay. If you can’t deal with the surplus before the 21 months are over you may ask for another year or 2 or 3 to deal with the surplus amount. At least this will make it more manageable.

2) Ask your trustee to book a hearing so you can make your argument against surplus in Court. I have to warn you, I’ve heard these arguments in Court many times and (in Ontario) they don’t often result in a lower surplus amount.

Your trustee should have explained these optins to you – perhaps you should give them a call and go over them again.