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Photo of attorneys Shelley Slafkes and Bruce Levitt
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Are My Social Security Benefits Protected in a Bankruptcy?

On Behalf of | Oct 24, 2014 | Bankruptcy Basics, Seniors and Bankruptcy

There have been recent studies that indicate an increasing number of senior citizens are seeking bankruptcy protection. Many people believe they have saved enough to retire, but quickly realize that they did not. Additionally, it is difficult to support yourself on Social Security alone, especially if you have accumulated any debt.

If you are living on Social Security and you own few assets, it may be time to consider filing for bankruptcy and obtain relief from your burdensome debt. Social Security benefits are protected under the law from being included as part of your bankruptcy estate. In other words, you will not lose this income if you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case.

Most senior citizens qualify to file for Chapter 7 protection. To be eligible for Chapter 7, you must pass the means test. The means test is actually a formula the court uses to evaluate your income versus the median average income for your state and to determine whether you have enough money to pay your creditors. Social Security benefits are not considered as income for this test, which results in many senior citizens having zero income, or at a minimum, qualifying for a Chapter 7 filing.

During your Chapter 7 case, you will likely be able to discharge or eliminate most, if not all, of your unsecured debt. This includes any medical bills and credit card bills. For many of our clients, this means they are no longer liable to pay thousands of dollars of debt at the conclusion of their case. This can drastically improve your financial situation and allow you to enjoy the fruits of your labor during your “golden years.”

If you are receiving Social Security and you are considering filing for bankruptcy, let us help ensure your benefits are protected. Even simple cases require you to comply with strict legal procedures. Contact one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys today for help.

If you are interested in learning how filing a bankruptcy case can benefit you, contact Levitt & Slafkes, P.C., at 973-323-2953. You can also reach us by filling out our online form. We represent debtors in Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 filings. Let us help you get the fresh financial start you need today.