Like all states, Ohio has its own set of exemptions that you may use when filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Exemptions determine what property (such as a home, car, instrument, retirement account, etc.) you may keep in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and how much you must pay to certain creditors in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Some states allow debtors to choose between the state exemption system and a set of federal bankruptcy exemptions – but Ohio is not one of them. In Ohio, you must use the state exemptions below. In addition to this list, you may also use any applicable amounts in the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
Unless noted otherwise, if a couple is married and filing jointly in Ohio, each spouse may claim the full amount of each exemption. This is informally called “doubling.”
To learn more about bankruptcy exemptions, including how they work, which state exemption system you should use, and special rules for the homestead exemption, see Bankruptcy Exemptions – What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?
Ohio Bankruptcy Exemptions
Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to the Ohio Revised Code.
2329.66 - Real or personal property used as a residence up to $132,900. Tenancies by the entirety may be exempt as to debts of one spouse.
517.09 & 2329.66 - Burial plot.
2329.66 - (1) motor vehicle up to $3,675; (2) cash, bank, and security deposits, tax refund and money due within 90 days up to $450 total; (3) household goods, furnishings, appliances, books, animals, musical instruments, firearms, hunting and fishing equipment and crops up to $575 per item, jewelry up to $1,550; $11,525 total (4) health aids; (5) wrongful death recoveries for person you depended upon for support; (6) compensation for lost future earnings needed for support; (7) personal injury recoveries up to $23,000; and (8) Tuition credit or payment. NOTE: Section 2329.66 is relatively detailed and complex, so be sure to read it.
2329.66 - Greater of the following: 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage or minimum of 75% of disposable weekly earnings. Judge may approve more for low income debtors.
In re Jones, 318 B.R. 841 (Bankr. S.D. Ohio 2005)
11 U.S.C. § 522 - Tax exempt retirement accounts (including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans).
11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(C)(n) - IRAS and Roth IRAs to $1,245,475.
145.56 - Public employees.
146.13 - Volunteer firefighters' dependents.
742.47 - Police officers and firefighters.
2329.66 - Public safety officers' death benefits; ERISA-qualified benefits, IRAs Roth IRAs and Keoghs needed for support.
3309.66 - Public school employees.
5505.22 - State highway patrol employees.
2329.66 & 2743.66 - Crime victims' compensation received within one year of filing for bankruptcy.
2329.66 & 3304.19 - Vocational rehabilitation benefits.
2329.66 & 4123.67 - Workers' compensation.
2329.66 & 4141.32 - Unemployment compensation.
2329.66 & 5107.12 - Public assistance.
2329.66 & 5115.07 - Disability assistance.
Tools of Trade
2329.66 - Tools, books, and implements of trade up to $2,325.
Alimony and Child Support
2329.66 - Alimony and child support needed for support.
2329.66 - Benevolent society benefits to $5,000.
2329.66 & 3917.05 - Group life insurance policy or proceeds.
2329.66 & 3921.18 - Fraternal benefit society benefits.
2329.66 & 3923.19 - Disability benefits needed for support.
3911.10 - Life, endowment or annuity contract dividends, interest, loan, cash, or surrender value for your spouse, child or other dependent.
3911.12 - Life insurance proceeds for spouse.
3911.14 - Life insurance proceeds if policy prohibits use to pay creditors.
1775.24 & 2329.66 - Business partnership property.
2329.66 - $1,225 of any property.
Other - Add any applicable Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions
This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Ohio. However, it may not include all exemptions, and states often create exceptions to specific exemptions. Ohio updates the exemption amounts every three years. The next update will be April 1, 2016. Consider cross-checking this list with www.legalconsumer.com, which updates the state exemption amounts regularly, or check with your local bankruptcy court.