Q: In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, can a person's your social security or pension checks be taken?
First of all I have to say that in Chapter 7 bankruptcy it is your assets that the trustee is looking at, not so much your income. When the case is filed the trustee in a theoretical sort of way has title to all your assets, or at lease most of them. Your lawyer will have claimed most or all of your assets as exempt, one would hope, so that the truste will not be able to take them. The trustee is not so much paying attention to your income, except as to whether it is so high that you won't qualify for bankruptcy.
I've certainly never seen social security payments or pension payments seized by the bankruptcy trustee or any creditor for that matter. Social Security payments are exempt from granishment or seizure under federal law. Once the money is in your bank account, however, there may be an issue as to how long it retains its exempt character. The right to receive pension income is for the most part exempt, but as far as I know it is not exempt after you receive it.
So in Chapter 7 what you have to focus on is not so much the pension money or SS money you have not yet received, although you must look at that to some extent; the primary focus is on what you already have received and can what you have on the date of filing be claimed ase exmempt.
This response is for general information purposes only and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is not legal advice. I am a debt relief agency helping people to file for relief under the federal bankruptcy code.
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