Bankruptcy Reform: Value of Credit Counseling Requirements Is Not Clear

GAO-07-778T Published: May 01, 2007. Publicly Released: May 01, 2007.
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The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 requires individuals to receive credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy and to take a debtor education course before having debts discharged. Concerns were raised that the new requirements could expose consumers to abusive practices by credit counseling agencies or become barriers to filing for bankruptcy. This testimony is based on GAO's report issued last month, and addresses (1) the process of approving counseling and education providers, (2) the content and results of the counseling and education sessions, (3) the fees charged, and (4) the availability of and challenges to accessing services. To address these issues, GAO reviewed Trustee Program data and application case files, and interviewed a wide range of individuals and groups involved in the bankruptcy process.

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