After filling for bankruptcy, clients often ask, will I lose my retirement accounts or Social Security benefits?
Generally, no. Retirement accounts that are ERISA-qualified aren’t considered the property of an estate and aren’t taken into consideration as assets. Social Security benefits are protected from assignment, or garnishment for debts in bankruptcy. Once paid, the benefits continue to be protected only as long as they can be identified as Social Security benefits. For example, money in a bank account where the “only” deposits into the account are direct deposits of Social Security benefits are identifiable and generally protected.