From South Middlesex Legal Services
Income and Property Protected from Debt Collection
Many elders have consumer debts that they cannot repay. Often these debts are credit card debts or medical bills. Your creditors cannot take all property or income from you. Some income and property is too essential to be taken from a debtor and cannot be taken by a court order to pay a debt. If all of your income and possessions are protected, you are called “judgment proof.”
The law specifically excludes certain income from collection of most debts. Those types of income include Unemployment Compensation, Worker’s Compensation, Veteran’s Benefits, Pensions, Retirement Funds, IRA’s, Railroad Retirement, Social Security, Public Assistance and Welfare Benefits. Other types of income (such as private disability payments and wages) are partially protected. Certain belongings are also protected from being taken to satisfy debts. Some examples of such items are clothing, household goods, books and food. A car is also exempt if it has an equity value of $700 or less. Your home may also be protected if you have filed a Declaration of Homestead.
You may be able to get creditors to stop pursuing claims against you if you inform them that you are “judgment proof.” For more information about “Judgment Proof” call South Middlesex Legal Services at (800) 696-1501.
Senior Citizens Legal Project
The Senior Citizens Legal Project is a program of South Middlesex Legal Services. SCLP provides free civil legal services to persons age 60+ in 36 towns including your town in South and Central Middlesex and Southern Norfolk Counties. We provide advice, brief service and full representation in a variety of substantive areas including housing, domestic relations, government benefits, bankruptcy, nursing home issues and guardianship defense as well as drafting durable powers of attorney and health care proxies.
We are located in Framingham but are happy to travel to meet clients in their homes or at local senior centers. If you require legal assistance you may contact us at (508) 620-1830 or (800) 696-1501 for an intake. A member of our intake staff will gather basic information about you and your problem and pass that information along to an advocate who will contact you directly.