Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Exemptions

The Pennsylvania bankruptcy exemptions chart, see below, details the property you can exempt or protect from creditors when you file bankruptcy in Pennsylvania. You may exempt any property that falls into one of the exemptions categories below, up to the dollar amount listed. You will be able to kept this exempted property after you file bankruptcy. Please note that there are certain debts which you will not be able to erase in bankruptcy. (see Non-dischargeable Debts)

In Pennsylvania, you also have the choice of using the federal exemption statutes instead of your Pennsylvania exemptions.

An exemption limit applies to any equity you have in the property. Equity is the difference between the value of the property and what is owed on the property. For example, a car valued at $5000 with a loan of $4500 has an equity value of only $500.

If the property is secured by a loan, such as a car or home, and you are current on the payments and the equity is covered by your exemptions, you may elect to keep making payments on the loan and keep this property through the bankruptcy. If all the equity is not covered by your exemptions the trustee may elect to liquidate this asset and distribute the proceeds. Generally, in this case, you would be entitled to the value of your exemption in the asset as a cash payment.

Bankruptcy law allows married couples filing jointly to each claim a full set of exemptions, unless otherwise noted.

To keep non-exempt property, a debtor must generally pay the trustee the value of the non-exempt property.

When you file bankruptcy in Pennsylvania you may also use certain federal exemptions in addition to your Pennsylvania exemptions.





None, however, property held as tenancy by the entirety may be exempt against debts owed by only one spouse

Keystone Saving Ass’n v.

Kitsock, 633 A. 2d 165 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1993)


Accident or disability benefits

Fraternal benefit society benefits


Group life policy or proceeds

Insurance policy or annuity contract payments, where insured is the beneficiary, cash value or proceeds to $100 per month

Life insurance proceeds if clause prohibits proceeds from being used to pay beneficiary’s creditors

No-fault automobile insurance proceeds

42-8124( c) (7)

Annotated Statute 40-1141-403;

42-8124( c) (1), (8)

42-8124( c) (5)

42-8124( c) (3)

42-8124( c) (6)

42-8214( c) (4)

42-8124( c) (9)


Property of business partnership



City employees

County employees

Municipal employees

Police officers

Private retirement benefits if clause prohibits proceeds from being used to pay beneficiary’s creditors, to extent tax-deferred; exemption limited to $15,000 per year deposited; no exemption for amount deposited within 1 year of filing

Public school employees

State employees

53-13445, 53-23572,




53-764, 53-776, 53-23666






Personal Property

Bibles, schoolbooks & sewing machines


Tangible personal property at an international exhibit sponsored by U.S. government

Uniform & accoutrements

42-8124(a) (2), (3)

42-8124(a) (1)


42-8124(a) (4)

Public Benefits

Crime victims’ compensation

Korean conflict veterans’ benefits

Unemployment compensation

Veterans’ benefits

Workers’ compensation



42-8124(a) (10), 43-863


42-8124( c) (2)

Tools of Trade




Earned but unpaid wages


Wild Card

$300 of any property


For more information on filing bankruptcy in Pennsylvania explore Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Law.