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Are SSD and SSI benefits protected in bankruptcy?


We frequently write about both the benefits and temporary drawbacks of filing for personal bankruptcy. When individuals are struggling to cope with significant financial problems due to a sudden illness, injury, job loss or a host of other factors, bankruptcy can allow them access to certain protections and a chance at a fresh financial start.

Many individuals are hesitant to file for bankruptcy because they are concerned that certain property, assets or benefits will be taken away from them. It is important to understand that bankruptcy does not leave filers without access to necessary income, transportation and sentimental personal property. Many kinds of property and income may not be touched by creditors, no matter what kind of bankruptcy you may be thinking about filing for.

For example, if you receive Social Security Income (SSI), these benefits cannot be touched by creditors if you file for bankruptcy. In addition, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits may only be garnished in certain situations. Your SSD benefits may be garnished in certain situations if you have past-due taxes, overdue child support, certain federal overpayments and possibly for repayment of federal student loans.

Bankruptcy law is complex and nuanced. Therefore, it is generally a good idea to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney if you have questions about what kinds of assets and income will be protected if you choose to file for bankruptcy. Chances are that your necessary income and your sentimental personal property will almost certainly be protected in addition to numerous other assets.

Source:, "Can a Debt Collector Come After My Social Security?" Gerri Detweiler, May 23, 2014