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How Much Does a Bankruptcy Judge Make? Or, More Politely, What is the Salary of a Bankruptcy Judge?

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This is a question we do not get very often, but it is something people like to know. In days gone past federal employees were not paid very well in comparison to other people in the nation’s economy. This has changed over the years. Take a look at this chart courtesy of The Federal Judicial Center:

Judicial Salaries U.S. Bankruptcy Judges
Date Effective Annual Salary
November 6, 1978 $50,000 October 1, 1979 $53,500 January 1, 1982 $58,500 December 18, 1982 $63,600 January 1, 1984 $66,100 January 1, 1985 $68,400 January 1, 1987 $70,500 March 1, 1987 $72,500
Effective October 1, 1988 and thereafter, bankruptcy judges receive a salary of 92 percent of the salary of federal district judges. The salary does NOT vary based on locality. As such, a US Bankruptcy Judge with his court in Iowa has a much lower cost of living than does a US Bankruptcy Judge with her court in Los Angeles, California, or New York, New York. As a result, the lower cost of living makes that judge’s salary comparatively more valuable than in the more costly localities.

Judicial Salaries
District Court Judges U.S. Bankruptcy Judges
Date Effective Annual Salary Annual Salary
(92% of District Judges)

October 1, 1988 $ 89,500 $ 82,340 February 1, 1990 $ 96,600 $ 88,872 January 1, 1991 $125,100 $ 115,092 January 1, 1992 $129,500 $ 119,140 January 1, 1993 $133,600 $ 122,912 January 1, 1998 $136,700 $ 125,764 January 1, 2000 $141,300 $ 129,996 January 1, 2001 $145,100 $ 133,492 January 1, 2002 $150,000 $ 138,000 January 1, 2003 $154,700 $ 142,324 January 1, 2004 $158,100 $ 145,452 January 1, 2005 $162,100 $ 149,132 January 1, 2006 $165,200 $ 151,984 January 1, 2008 $169,300 $ 155,756 January 1, 2009 $174,000 $ 160,080 January 1, 2014 $199,100 $ 183,172

So, the answer to our question is currently $ 183,172. If you pay taxes, some small portion of what you pay goes to pay the salary of our nation’s U.S. Bankruptcy Judges.

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