Why do I need to bring 6 months of pay stubs?
We need six or more months of pay stubs as part of determining your gross income over the last six months. It's also helpful to understand the exact paycheck deductions currently being made. A debtor's 6-month average current monthly income is computed for determining whether a debtor is above median household income, such that statutory means testing applies. If means testing applies, this average income is compared against expense allowances for determining formulaic ability to pay creditors. This ability to pay affects eligibility for chapter 7 and the required payment in chapter 13.
Gross wages are just one item that is considered part of a debtor's income. It is important to note that gross wages are what matters, not net wages (take home pay) after taxes, insurance, and other withholding. The withheld items are expenses that are treated elsewhere in the means test. Beyond wages, income includes net revenue from business; rental proceeds from renting real estate; interest, dividends, and royalties; retirement income; alimony or child support received; and unemployment compensation. Other items might be considered income as well. Social Security income, while it must be disclosed in the bankruptcy petition, is excluded by statute from means testing income.