If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee, you may be allowed to pay the filing fee on a payment plan if you file (1) a motion to proceed IFP, (2) fill out an application to proceed in forma pauperis, and (3) file them with the court (typically filed with the complaint). The Financial Affidavit is required so that the assigned Judge can make a determination of your inability to pay the entire filing fee at one time.
Bear in mind that you can apply for in forma pauperis status only after your action is filed. The Clerk's Office will accept your case without payment if, at the time you file it, you also file an application to proceed in forma pauperis. The assigned Judge will review your request, and you will be notified of the Judge's decision. If the Judge grants your request, you can proceed in forma pauperis. Permission to proceed in forma pauperis only entitles a plaintiff to file an action without paying the entire filing fee up front. It does not, however, waive the filing fee. Proceeding in forma pauperis does not waive or reduce all costs you may incur. If the Judge denies your application, you will be required to pay the entire fee at one time; if you do not pay the fee within a specified time period, your case will be dismissed.