Ohio Bankruptcy Exemptions

You can protect property in an Ohio bankruptcy using Ohio's bankruptcy exemption law.

Updated: April 5, 2019

You won’t lose everything when filing for bankruptcy in Ohio. You’ll be able to use Ohio’s bankruptcy exemptions to protect property you’ll need to work and live, like your home, personal items, and a retirement account.

Find out more about filing an Ohio bankruptcy case.

Ohio Exemptions v. Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions

Some states allow residents to choose between the state and the federal bankruptcy exemptions, but that option isn’t available in Ohio. You’ll use Ohio’s state exemptions and, if helpful, the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.

Common Ohio Bankruptcy Exemptions

Here are some of the more common exemptions in Ohio. When reviewing them, you’ll want to keep these things in mind:

  • Joint filing. Unless otherwise noted, when spouses file together in Ohio, each spouse can claim the full amount of the exemption (informally called “doubling”) as long as each spouse has an ownership interest in the property.
  • List and verify your exemptions. You must claim an exemption by listing it in the official bankruptcy forms. You might qualify for exemptions not included in this article, or be required to meet qualification requirements. Consulting with a local bankruptcy attorney is the best way to ensure that you’re protecting your assets.
  • Legal citations. You’ll find each of the statutes in the Ohio Revised Code or the federal law.

Ohio Homestead Exemption

2329.66(A)(1) – Equity in real or personal property used as a residence up to $145,425. Tenancies by the entirety might be exempt as to debts of one spouse.

Ohio Motor Vehicle Exemption

2329.66(A)(2) – Equity in a motor vehicle up to $4,000.

Ohio Wildcard Exemption

2329.66(A)(18) – Up to $1,325 of any personal property (not real estate) of the filer’s choice.

Other Ohio Exemptions

Personal Property

517.09 & 2329.66 - Burial plot.

2329.66 - Cash, bank, and security deposits, tax refund and money due within 90 days up to $500 total; clothing, household goods and furnishings $625 per item up to a total value of $13,400; jewelry up to $1,700; health aids; wrongful death recoveries for person you depended upon for support; compensation for lost future earnings needed for support; personal injury recoveries up to $25,175; and tuition credit or payment.

Wages

2329.66 - Greater of the following: 30 times the federal minimum hourly wage or minimum of 75% of disposable weekly earnings or other court order.

Pensions

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 maximum (amount changes).

145.56; 148.09 - 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.

3307.41 - State teacher retirement system.

Public Benefits

2329.66 & 2743.66 - Crime victims' compensation received within one year of filing for bankruptcy.

2329.66(A)(9)(g) - Earned income tax credit and child tax credit.

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 & 5115.06 - Disability assistance.

Tools of the Trade

2329.66 - Tools, books, and implements of trade up to $2,550.

Alimony and Child Support

2329.66 - Alimony and child support needed for support.

Insurance

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 another dependent.

3911.12 - Life insurance proceeds for a spouse.

3911.14 - Life insurance proceeds if policy prohibits use to pay creditors.

Other

1775.24 & 2329.66 - Business partnership property.

2329.66 - 529 savings plans.

Add any applicable federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.

Nonexempt Property—Property You Can’t Protect With an Ohio Exemption

Some people can keep all assets, but that isn’t always true. Here’s what will happen to nonexempt property:

  • In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee appointed to administer your case will sell nonexempt property and distribute the proceeds to creditors. Find out more about the bankruptcy process and the Chapter 7 documents you'll need at each stage.
  • In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it works differently. You can keep everything you own, but you’ll pay creditors the value of the nonexempt property, your disposable income, or your nondischargeable debt (support obligations, most taxes, and the like), whichever is more, through your Chapter 13 repayment plan.

You’ll learn more about Chapter 7 and 13 in Which Type of Bankruptcy is Right for Me?

Confirming Ohio Exemptions

This list includes the majority of bankruptcy exemptions available in Ohio. However, doesn’t include all exemptions. Also, states often create qualification requirements for specific exemptions. Check the Ohio Revised Codes or with a local bankruptcy lawyer. The next exemption amount update will occur on April 1, 2022.

To learn more about bankruptcy exemptions, the state exemption system, and the homestead exemption rules, read Bankruptcy Exemptions – What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?

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