District of Columbia Bankruptcy Exemptions

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Written By: Jeffrey JohnsonUPDATED: Jul 16, 2021Fact Checked

Federal bankruptcy exemptions available? YES

Though not included in the District of Columbia statutory homestead exemption, a court has held that property owned by a married couple as a tenancy by the entirety is exempt if only one spouse owes the debt.

The references to District of Columbia statutes are to the District of Columbia Code.


United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Columbia

Washington DC Bankruptcy Attorneys

DC Bankruptcy Exemptions
Assets Exemption State Statute
Homestead Residence of debtor or debtor’s dependents: all. 15-501(a)(14)
Insurance Life insurance contract (unmatured) other than credit life insurance: all. 15-501(a)(5)
  Disability benefits: all. 15-501(a)(7); 31-4716.01
  Life insurance payments: all. 15-501(a)(11)
  Other insurance proceeds: up to $200 per month for a maximum of 2 months for the person providing the principal support for a family; up to $60 a month for 2 months for all others. 15-503
  Life insurance proceeds or avails: all. 31-4716
  Group life insurance policy/proceeds: all. 31-4717
  Life insurance proceeds: all if policy has a clause prohibiting the proceeds from being used to pay the creditors of the beneficiary. 31-4719
  Benefits from a fraternal benefit society: all. 31-5315
Miscellaneous Child support and alimony payments: all. 15-501(a)(7)
Pensions Federal pension exemptions.  
  Judge pensions: all. 11-1570(f)
  Stock bonuses, annuity payments, pensions payments, and profit-sharing plans: all. 15-501(a)(7)
  IRA’s, Keoghs, and other ERISA-qualified benefits: up to maximum tax-deductible contribution. 15-501(a)(9)
  Public school teacher pensions: all. 38-2001.17; 38-2021.17
Personal Property Motor vehicle: up to $2,575. 15-501(a)(1)
  Household furnishings, appliances, musical instruments, books, clothing, and pets: up to $425 for each item and $8,625 total. 15-501(a)(2)
  Professionally prescribed health aids. 15-501(a)(6)
  Family pictures: all. 15-501(a)(8)
  Family library: up to $400. 15-501(a)(8)
  Recovery for loss, including pain and suffering of the debtor or someone the debtor depends upon: all. 15-501(a)(11)
  Recovery for wrongful death: all. 15-501(a)(11); 16-2703
  Food: enough to last 3 months. 15-501(a)(12)
  Holdings in cooperative association: up to $500. 29-928
  Deposit for a residential condominium: all. 42-1904.09
  Burial and cemetery funds: all. 43-111
  Savings account for higher education: all. 47-4510
Public Benefits General assistance: all. 4-215.01
  Blind, aged, or disabled aid: all. 4-215.01
  Crime victim’s compensation benefits: all. 4-507(e); 15-501(a)(11)
  Social Security benefits: all. 15-501(a)(7)
  Veterans’ benefits: all. 15-501(a)(7)
  Workers’ compensation benefits: all. 32-1517
  Unemployment compensation benefits: all. 51-118
Tools of Your Trade Seal and documents of notary public: all. 1-1206
  Tools needed for trade or business: up to $1,625. 15-501(a)(4)
  Furniture, tools, and library of artist or professional: up to $300. 15-501(a)(13)
  Tools of mechanic: up to $200. 15-503(b)
Wages Recovery for loss of future earnings: all. 15-501(a)(11)(E)
  Earnings other than wages, such as pensions and retirement funds: up to $200 per month for head of family; up to $60 per month for 2 months for those not head of family. 15-503
  Wages earned but not yet paid: at least 75% of wages and pension payments. The bankruptcy judge may allow a larger percentage for low-income debtors. 16-572
Wildcard Any property: up to $850. 15-501(a)(3)
  Any property: up to $8,075 of unused homestead exemption. 15-501(a)(3)

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
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