postings by Dalié Jiménez

CARES Act "Rebates" and Bankruptcy

posted by Dalié Jiménez

Related to Pamela's last post and our article regarding garnishments and the CARES Act "rebates," the US Trustee issued a notice to Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 trustees giving them guidance on what to do about them in a bankruptcy case.

The top line: these payments should not be included in the statutory definitions of "current monthly income" or "disposable income" per the CARES Act itself. But the Act failed to discuss whether these payments are property of the estate, which typically would mean that they are. I know bankruptcy lawyers have been dealing with this already and many feared that some trustees would try to obtain these mounts. I was therefore very pleased to read this in the US Trustee notice, in particular the part in bold:

Regardless of whether the rebate is property of the estate, the United States Trustee expects that it is highly unlikely that the trustee would administer the payment after consideration of all relevant circumstances ... Trustees are directed to notify the United States Trustee prior to taking any action to recover recovery rebates or objecting to a chapter 13 plan based on the treatment of recovery rebates.

Help End the Student Debt Crisis (with Research)

posted by Dalié Jiménez

2014.11.09.Charge2America has a student debt problem. At over $1.6 trillion, outstanding student loan debt is the second-largest category of consumer debt after mortgages. Yet we still know relatively little about the effect of student loans on individuals, communities, states, and our country as a whole. For instance: What were the effects of income-driven repayment (IDR) plans on student borrowers’ financial health and spending habits? What credit usage behaviors predict student loan distress or defaults? Given the disparate impact of student debt on communities of color, what is the effect of this debt on their overall financial health and economic opportunity? 

The lack of answers to these questions motivated me and my UCI Law colleague Jonathan Glater to create the Student Loan Law Initiative (SLLI), a partnership with the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC). Our goal is to foster research that can arm policymakers, legislators, and advocates with the best information possible to find solutions to the student debt crisis. It's been a busy 9 months. I have three highlights to share: 

  • Tomorrow, we're hosting a symposium titled, Consumer Protection in the Age of the Student Debt CrisisThe day will bring together academics and student loan law practitioners from across the country to discuss where we are and to set the agenda for where to go from here. The event is free and open to the public and will be webcast live tomorrow (2/21) between 9:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. PST. Papers will be published in the UC Irvine Law Review later this year. Follow the events on twitter with #SLLI.
  • We've acquired two important datasets (including a credit panel with anonymized quarterly tradeline data on over 43 million consumers from 2004-19) that will help researchers answer some of these questions.
  • We've launched a new grants program to support researchers of student loan law. The program will offer grants of up to $15,000 to support research on the effects of student debt on consumers’ financial lives and their communities. We'll prioritize applicants who propose to work with one of the datasets we've acquired but are seeking applicants from all fields: law, higher education, economics, and sociology. We're accepting rolling applications through April 1, 2020.

Graphic credit: Blob defeats the student loan monster. Cartoon from the Financial Distress Research Project self-help materials.

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  • As a public service, the University of Illinois College of Law operates Bankr-L, an e-mail list on which bankruptcy professionals can exchange information. Bankr-L is administered by one of the Credit Slips bloggers, Professor Robert M. Lawless of the University of Illinois. Although Bankr-L is a free service, membership is limited only to persons with a professional connection to the bankruptcy field (e.g., lawyer, accountant, academic, judge). To request a subscription on Bankr-L, click here to visit the page for the list and then click on the link for "Subscribe." After completing the information there, please also send an e-mail to Professor Lawless (rlawless@illinois.edu) with a short description of your professional connection to bankruptcy. A link to a URL with a professional bio or other identifying information would be great.

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