Federal Exemptions Summary

Federal Exemptions Summary for Bankruptcy Debtors

(not applicable to tax debt)

As of 5/6/2011

The following is a summary of section § 522 of Title 11 of the United States Code which provides for exemptions. Each debtor is entitled to these exemptions so in a joint case (husband and wife) the exemptions are doubled. Property and support of a dependent can be included.

In Washington and New York, the debtor in bankruptcy can elect either state exemptions or the federal exemptions. In Oregon, the debtor may only use the state exemptions.

Washington State exemptions

Federal Statute providing these exemptions (11 USC § 522)

Alimony and Child Support:

§ 522(d)(10)(D) – Alimony and child support needed for your support.

Crime Victim

§ 522(d)(11)(A) – Crime victim’s compensation

Health Aids

§ 522(d)(9) – Professionally prescribed health aids.


§ 522(d)(1) – Real property, including mobile homes and co-ops, or burial plots up to $21,625. Unused portion of homestead, up to $10,825, may be used for other property. See “Wildcard” below.


§ 522(d)(7) – All unmatured life insurance policies.

§ 522(d)(8) –  The loan value of an unmatured insurance policy up to $11,525.

§ 522(d)(10)( C ) – Disability, unemployment or illness benefits.

§ 522(d)(11)( C ) – Life insurance payments for a person you depended on for your support to the extent needed for your support.

Lost Earnings

§522(d)(11)(E) – Lost earnings payments.


§ 522(b)(3)(C) – Tax exempt retirement accounts; IRAs and any other retirement that is exempt from federal taxation.

Personal Injury

§522(d)(11)(D) – Personal injury recovery up to $21,625 excluding recovery for pain and suffering or for pecuniary loss.

Personal Property:

§ 522(d)(2) – One motor vehicle up to $3,450.

§ 522(d)(3) – Animals, crops, clothing, appliances and furnishings, books, household goods, and musical instruments up to $550  in value in any particular item up to a total of $11,525.

§ 522(d)(4) – Total jewelry up to $1,450.

Public Assistance:

§ 522(d)(10)(A) – Public assistance, Social Security, Veteran’s benefits, Unemployment Compensation.

Tools of the Trade

§ 522(d)(6) – Total   value of any implements, professional books, or tools of the trade not to exceed $2,175.


§ 522(d)(5) – $1,150 of any property, and unused portion of homestead up to $10,825.

Wrongful Death

§ 522(d)(11)(B) – Wrongful death recovery for person who you depended on for support to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of you and your dependants.

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