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A declaration of bankruptcy is an extreme example of the failure to manage personal finances. Debtors who file personal bankruptcy petitions usually file under chapter 7 or chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code. Generally, debtors who file under chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code seek a discharge of all their eligible dischargeable debts. Debtors who file under chapter 13 submit a repayment plan, which must be confirmed by the bankruptcy court, for paying all or a portion of their debts over a 3-year period unless, for cause, the court approves a longer period not to exceed 5 years. This letter responds to the request of the Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs. We determined (1) the rate of personal bankruptcy filings among active duty military personnel, and how that rate compared with the rate found in the U.S. population; and (2) factors that should be considered when attempting to compare the rate of bankruptcy filings for active duty military personnel with the rate for the U.S. population.

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