Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Extension Act Signed into Law

August 26, 2019
Press Release
Representatives Cohen, Cline, Dean and Burchett introduced measure in June

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) was pleased to see that his bill, the National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Extension Act, has been signed into law. The measure, which he introduced with Congressman Ben Cline (R-VA-06), Congresswoman Madeline Dean (D-PA-06) and Congressman Tim Burchett (D-TN-02) in June, ensures that certain members of the National Guard and Reservists who fall on hard economic times after their military service, will continue to obtain bankruptcy relief without having to fill out the substantial paperwork required by the “means test” under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. 

Congressman Cohen made the following statement: 

“I am pleased that this commonsense measure protecting our veterans and relieving them of burdensome paperwork will be extended for another four years. This law is a way for our nation to recognize the sacrifice made by National Guard and Reserve members who have served on active duty or homeland defense and may be having financial difficulties.” 

In 2005, President Bush signed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act into law (Public Law 109–8, 119 Stat. 23).  Among the many changes it made was the establishment of a “means test” to determine a debtor’s ability to repay debts. Under this test, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is presumed to be an abuse of the bankruptcy process if it appears that the debtor has income in excess of certain thresholds. 

The National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Act of 2008, Public Law No. 110-438, created an exception to the means test’s presumption of abuse for members of the National Guard and Reserve who, after September 11, 2001, served on active duty or in a homeland defense activity for at least 90 days.  The exception is also available for 540 days after the servicemember leaves the military.   

President Obama signed Congressman Cohen’s 2015 version of the National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Extension Act which was set to expire in December. The newly signed bill extends the relief for another four years.