You do not have to be employed in order to file for bankruptcy. In fact, if you are filing for Chapter 7 it may make the process a little bit easier for you.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is intended to give you a clean slate when it comes to unsecured debts. As long as your income is below the median income requirements, you will qualify for Chapter 7. If you are unemployed then you probably have very little, if any, income. Even if you are collecting unemployment, that amount will likely still place you well below the income threshold for Chapter 7.
However, you should keep in mind that it is not free to file for bankruptcy. According U.S. News & World Report, you should plan to pay filing fees and an attorney. You may also need to attend and pay for a credit counseling course and/or a debt management course.
If you think that there is a chance you will incur any additional debt before you are able to find a new job, you may want to hold off on filing for Chapter 7 so that the new debt will be part of your filing. In addition, if you are able to find a new job with a good salary, it may disqualify you from filing for Chapter 7. In that case, filing while you are still unemployed may be a wise choice. Hence, the timing of when you file can be very important. This information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended as legal advice.