Federal Non-bankruptcy Exemptions vs. State Exemptions
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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021
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Although states can opt out of most federal bankruptcy exemptions, some are mandatory. These exemptions are available to everyone who is using his or her state’s exemptions, and are not available to anyone using the federal exemptions or the second California state option (which is very like the federal exemptions).
These exemptions are called non-bankruptcy exemptions, because they are found in areas of the United States Code other than the Bankruptcy Code. All of the bankruptcy exemptions are complete exemptions, not exemptions of a specified amount, except for the provision that at least 75% of wages will be exempt. If your state also specifies that a certain percentage of wages will be exempt, you don’t get to add the percentages together. You can choose whichever amount is higher.
|Asset||Exemption||US Code Section|
|Death and Disability Benefits for:||Longshoreman and harbor workers||33 § 916|
|Risk, hazard, death, or injury of War||42 § 1717|
|Government employees||5 § 8130|
|Retirement Benefits for:||Civil service employees||5 § 8346|
|Military service employees||10 § 1440|
|Foreign Service employees||22 § 4060|
|Veterans||38 § 5301|
|Military Medal of Honor roll||38 § 1562(c)|
|Railroad workers||45 § 231m|
|Social Security recipients||42 § 407|
|Survivor’s Benefits for:||Military service||10 § 1450|
|US judicial employees including judges, center directors, and administrative assistants to the US Supreme Court Chief Justice||28 § 376|
|Lighthouse workers||33 § 775|
|Miscellaneous||Military deposits made in savings accounts while the debtor was on permanent duty outside the US.||10 § 1035|
|A minimum of 75% of weekly disposable wages or 30 times the federal hourly wage, whichever is greater. The bankruptcy judge may allow more for a debtor with a low income.||15 § 1673|
|Indian lands, or proceeds from the sale of a homestead or lease.||25 § 410|
|Benefits for Klamath Indians residing in Oregon.||25 §§ 543, 545|
|Military group life insurance.||38 § 1970(g)|
|Unemployment insurance benefits for railroad workers.||45 352(e)|
|Wages for a seaman made under a written contract while the debtor was on a voyage.||46 § 11109|
|Clothing of a seaman.||46 § 11110|
Click here to read an Introduction to Bankruptcy Exemptions.