Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions

The federal nonbankruptcy exemptions are a list of exemptions available to bankruptcy filers using their state exemptions.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, exemptions determine what property you get to keep. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, exemptions help determine how much you must pay to certain creditors through your Chapter 13 repayment plan. All states have a set of exemptions that you may use. Some states allow to use a list of federal bankruptcy exemptions instead. To learn more about bankruptcy exemptions and to find a link to each state's exemptions, see Bankruptcy Exemptions -- What Do I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?

If you select your state's bankruptcy exemptions (in many cases, that is your only option), you may also use a set of additional exemptions called the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions. These exemptions are in addition to the exemptions available in your state system. However, you cannot use the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions if you choose to use the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions.

The Federal Nonbankruptcy Exemptions

All code references are to 11 U.S.C. (Title 11 of the United States Code).

Retirement Benefits

5 USC § 8346 - Civil Service employees.

22 USC § 4060 - Foreign service employees.

10 USC § 1440 - Military service employees.

45 USC § 231m - Railroad workers.

42 USC § 407 - Social Security benefits.

38 USC § 3101 - Veteran's benefits.

50 USC § 403 - CIA employees.

38 USC § 1562(c) - Military Medal of Honor Roll pensions.

Survivor's Benefits

10 USC § 1450 - Military service.

28 USC § 376 - Judges, U.S. court directors, judicial center directors, and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice's administrative assistants.

33 USC. §775 - Lighthouse workers.

Death and Disability Benefits

5 USC § 8130 - Government employees.

33 USC § 916 - Longshoremen, harbor workers.

42 USC § 1717 - War, risk, hazard, death, or injury compensation.


10 USC § 1035 - Military deposits to savings accounts (while on permanent duty outside the U.S.).

15 USC § 1673 - 75% of earned but unpaid wages or 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage; the greater of these two. (Judge may approve more.)

25 USC § 410 - Indian lands or homestead sales or lease proceeds.

25 USC § § 543 & 545 - Klamath Indian tribe benefits for those living in Oregon; agricultural or grazing lands to $5,000.

38 USC § 1970(g) - Military group life insurance

45 USC § 352(e) - Railroad workers' unemployment

46 USC § 11110 - Seamen's clothing

46 USC § 11111 - Debts of a seaman incurred while on a voyage

46 USC § 11109 - Seamen's wages (except for spousal or child support)

38 USC §1970(g) - Life insurance benefits for serviceman's Group Life Insurance or Veteran's Group Life Insurance

State by State Bankruptcy Exemptions

Choose from the list below information regarding exemption laws in your state.

New Jersey
New York
South Carolina

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