How do I make my monthly Chapter 13 plan payment to the Trustee?
Your monthly payment is due by the 25th of each month. This due date cannot be changed.
The Trustee’s office cannot accept payments brought to his Office and all payments will need to be made directly to the Trustee’s bank using the following three options:
- Internet electronic transfer at www.TFSbillpay.com. Please be advised that a payment may take up to five business days to post if made online.
- MoneyGram® Service - Call the TFS MoneyGram® at (888) 739-2749 for information.
- Mail a cashier’s check or money order to the Trustee’s bank at
Lon A. Jenkins
Chapter 13 Trustee
3111 Momentum Place
Chicago, IL 60689-5331
To ensure that your payment is credited to your bankruptcy case, include the following information with every plan payment: Name, Address, Bankruptcy Case Number.
Do I have to list all of my creditors? For example, my parents loaned me some money before the bankruptcy and I do not want to list them because I am embarrassed and I do not want them to know that I have filed for Chapter 13.
Yes. You are required by law to list in your bankruptcy papers all your liabilities (debts) and assets (your possessions). You cannot pick and choose who gets listed.
A collection agency that I listed on my bankruptcy papers keeps calling me and threatens to garnish my wages. I thought this would all stop when I filed. What can I do?
If you are contacted by a creditor, inform them that you are in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case and give them your case number and your attorney’s name and address. Then tell your attorney the name of the creditor who contacted you.
What happens if I miss payments to the Trustee? What if I have an emergency? What if my payment will be late?
You cannot miss any payments to the Trustee. The trustee is not allowed to give you permission to miss payments or to make delinquent payments. If you have a change in your financial circumstances, you should notify your attorney at once. Your attorney can re-evaluate your financial situation and if appropriate, modify your plan to reflect these changed circumstances. This process can take several weeks, so be sure to contact your attorney immediately if you foresee any problems making your payments.
My Plan says I must send any tax refunds to the Trustee. Could you explain that?
Chapter 13 requires you to pay all “disposable income” into your bankruptcy plan. This includes any tax refunds. If you have a tax refund, any amount more than $1,000 must be sent to the Trustee. If you receive an Earned Income Tax Credit or an Additional Child Tax Credit, you may be entitled to retain an additional amount of your tax refund. Speak with your attorney before spending any tax refund.
May I incur new debt during my Chapter 13? What if my car breaks down and I need a new one?
The order confirming your Chapter 13 Plan, signed by the Bankruptcy Judge, states that you may not incur any credit obligations during the life of your plan without Court approval. Taking on any new credit obligations could jeopardize your plan and failure to obtain court permission could result in your case being dismissed.
The most common credit obligation you may wish to incur is for the purchase of a car. Be sure to contact your attorney if you must buy a car. The Bankruptcy Court often approves requests to finance new vehicles, if you and your attorney follow the proper procedure.
My spouse and I have been talking about fixing up and selling our house while we are in our Chapter 13. Is there anything special we must do?
The order confirming your Chapter 13 Plan, requires you to obtain a court order prior to selling your real property or any other property. You should contact your attorney and discuss what you want to do well in advance of advertising or listing your property.
How can I find out how my plan is progressing and how much longer I have to pay into my Bankruptcy?
Once a year, usually in April, the Trustee will mail you a report of receipts and disbursements. It will tell you exactly how much money the Trustee has received from you; however, it will only list the individual payments that you have made for the last 12 months. The report will also show payments made by the Trustee to your creditors. Please be aware that this report cannot be used to determine the payoff of your bankruptcy case.
You can also access information regarding your case by going to www.ndc.org.
May I make larger payments to the Trustee and complete my case early?
The Bankruptcy Code requires you to send all your disposable income to the Trustee for a minimum of three years or 36 months. Your disposable income is the amount left over after you subtract your reasonable and necessary living expenses from your net income. Unless you are willing to pay your creditors 100%, you must make at least 36 plan payments. Paying off your plan early can be complicated. You should contact your attorney before you contact the Trustee.
My attorney said my plan payments would last for 36 months. Should I stop making payments after I have made 36 payments?
No. Quite often it takes more than 36 months to complete a plan. It can be difficult to predict the exact status of your case three years after it is filed. Sometimes, claims paid through the plan are higher than originally projected. Other times, there may be additional requirements to complete your plan. In short, you should continue making payments until the Trustee (or your attorney) specifically tells you that your plan has been paid in full.
I do not have an attorney. I thought that I was unable to afford one, but Chapter 13 seems complicated and most everyone else has an attorney. Is it too late to hire an attorney and how do I pay for one?
It is never too late to hire an attorney. Chapter 13 attorneys are normally paid their fees out of the plan payments, which may increase your monthly plan payment or increase the length of your plan. Many attorneys will give you information over the phone without charge. Check the Yellow Pages.
Remember, the Trustee’s office cannot give you legal advice and Chapter 13 can be complex and confusing. This is especially true if your circumstances change after your plan is confirmed. The Trustee strongly recommends you retain an attorney to represent you.
I am unable to contact my attorney. Can you help me?
The Trustee’s office cannot give legal advice. You must call your attorney if you have any questions as to what you should do during your Chapter 13 case.
My attorney will not talk to me unless I pay him. What should I do?
Attorneys are entitled to be paid for their services. All such fees and costs can be negotiated with your attorney.
How do I know if my case is paid off?
Once the Trustee has received your final payment and disbursed the last payment to your creditors, the Trustee’s office will file a Chapter 13 Standing Trustee’s Notice of Completed Plan Payments with the Court. A copy of this notice is sent to you and your attorney.
Do not worry about overpaying. The Trustee will perform a final audit on your case and, if you paid too much, the Trustee will refund that amount to you. It is better to overpay a little than to underpay and risk having your case dismissed when it is nearing completion.
What do I do if I want to pay off my case early?
To request a payoff letter, you should contact your attorney and your attorney can request a payoff letter for you. If you do not have an attorney, the Trustee's office will need a request in writing. You may email the Trustee's office at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax your request to 801-596-8998. Please allow approximately 10 days to receive your payoff letter.
I am about to make my last payment and will soon. I heard that now I get a discharge. What does that mean and how long does it take?
A discharge is your goal. It means you have completed the requirements of your plan. The Trustee must audit and review your case to initiate the closing process. After the Trustee’s office makes a final disbursement in your case, the Trustee’s office will file a notice with the court to notify of the completion of the case. A copy of this notice is also sent to you and your attorney. Once this notice is filed, you will need to contact your attorney to file a Verification and Request for Discharge. This document must be filed with the court for the court to issue a Discharge.