§ 58.34Minimum requirements to become and remain approved providers relating to fees.
(a) If a fee for, or relating to, an instructional course is charged by a provider, such fee shall be reasonable:
(1) A fee of $50 or less for an instructional course is presumed to be reasonable and a provider need not obtain prior approval of the United States Trustee to charge such a fee;
(2) A fee exceeding $50 for an instructional course is not presumed to be reasonable and a provider must obtain prior approval from the United States Trustee to charge such a fee. The provider bears the burden of establishing that its proposed fee is reasonable. At a minimum, the provider must demonstrate that its cost for delivering the instructional course justifies the fee. A provider that previously received permission to charge a higher fee need not reapply for permission to charge that fee during the provider's annual review. Any new requests for permission to charge more than previously approved, however, must be submitted to EOUST for approval; and
(3) The United States Trustee shall review the amount of the fee set forth in paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section one year after the effective date of this part and then periodically, but not less frequently than every four years, to determine the reasonableness of the fee. Fee amounts and any revisions thereto shall be determined by current costs, using a method of analysis consistent with widely accepted accounting principles and practices, and calculated in accordance with the provisions of federal law as applicable. Fee amounts and any revisions thereto shall be published in the Federal Register.
(1) A provider shall waive the fee in whole or in part whenever a debtor demonstrates a lack of ability to pay the fee.
(i) A debtor presumptively lacks the ability to pay the fee if the debtor's household current income is less than 150 percent of the poverty guidelines updated periodically in the Federal Register by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the authority of 42 U.S.C. 9902(2), as adjusted from time to time, for a household or family of the size involved in the fee determination.
(ii) The presumption shall be rebutted, and the provider may charge the debtor a reduced fee, if the provider determines, based on income information the debtor submits to the provider, that the debtor is able to pay the fee in a reduced amount. Nothing in this subsection requires an provider to charge a fee to debtors whose household income exceeds the amount set forth in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, or who are able to demonstrate ability to pay based on income as described in this subsection.
(iii) A provider shall disclose its fee policy, including the criteria on which it relies in determining a debtor's eligibility for reduced fees, and the provider's policy for collecting fees pursuant to paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section, in accordance with § 58.33(k)(2).
(2) The United States Trustee shall review the basis for the mandatory fee waiver policy set forth in paragraph (b)(1) of this section one year after the effective date of this part and then periodically, but not less frequently than every four years, to determine the impact of that fee waiver policy on debtors and providers. Any revisions to the mandatory fee waiver policy set forth in paragraph (b)(1) of this section shall be published in the Federal Register.
(c) Notwithstanding the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section, a provider also may waive fees based upon other considerations, including, but not limited to:
(1) The debtor's net worth;
(2) The percentage of the debtor's income from government assistance programs;
(3) Whether the debtor is receiving pro bono legal services in connection with a bankruptcy case; or
(4) If the combined current monthly income, as defined in 11 U.S.C. 101(10A), of the debtor and his or her spouse, when multiplied times twelve, is equal to or less than the amounts set forth in 11 U.S.C. 707(b)(7).
(d) A provider shall not require a debtor to purchase an instructional course in connection with the purchase of any other service offered by the provider.
(e) A provider who is also a chapter 13 standing trustee may only provide the instructional course to debtors in cases in which the trustee is appointed to serve and may not charge any fee to those debtors for the instructional course. A standing chapter 13 trustee may not require debtors in cases administered by the trustee to obtain the instructional course from the trustee. Employees and affiliates of the standing trustee are also bound by the restrictions in this section.