If you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge and you are again in a position where you are struggling to repay delinquent debts, you must wait at least eight years before you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy again. Keep in mind, however, that the eight years begins from the original date of filing and not the original date of the first Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge. For example, if you filed a Chapter 7 on March 15, 2017 and received a discharge in that case on June 20, 2017, you will be eligible to file another Chapter 7 no earlier than March 16, 2025.
You may, however, file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and receive a discharge after a successful Chapter 7 case after waiting only four years. For example if you filed a Chapter 7 on March 15, 2017 and received a discharge in that case on June 30, 2017, you can file a Chapter 13 no earlier than March 16, 2021 and be eligible to receive a discharge in the Chapter 13.
There may be time when you would want to file a Chapter 7, receive a discharge of unsecured debts, then file a Chapter 13 sooner than four years. This filing scenario is referred to as a “Chapter 20” and is used to to pay off certain debts that were not discharged in the previous Chapter 7 (e.g. taxes, or to pay off mortgage arrears). Remember that in this scenario, you will not receive a discharge in the subsequent Chapter 13.