Collection Laws & Exemptions
- Find out your state's consumer debt protection laws and exemptions.
- Review FDCPA rules and collection exemptions for homesteads, autos, bank accounts, and wages.
- Find links to learn more about your state's rules.
Collection Laws & Exemptions by State
Below find consumer protection laws and exemptions by state. See the Bills.com Statute of Limitations on Debt page to find consumer statutes of limitations laws for the 50 US states and the District of Columbia. Use this information as a starting point for your research — it is not legal advice. Consult an attorney for legal advice specific to your situation.
|Collection Laws & Exemptions|
|FDCPA Applies to Original Creditors||Homestead Exemption||Vehicle Exemption||Bank Account||Wages|
|Alabama||$5,000 (can double)||None||$3,000||75%|
|Alaska||$70,200||$3,900||$1,820 or $2,860||$456-7161|
|Arkansas||Unlimited (<1/4 acre)||$1,200||$800 or $1250||75%|
|Connecticut||$75,000 (2x if married)||$1,500||$1,000||75%|
|Delaware||None (if both owe $)||None||$500||85%5|
|Georgia||$10,000 (can double)||$3,500 (2x)||$600||75%|
|Illinois||$15,000 (can double)||$1,200||$2,000||85%6|
|Indiana||$7500 (can double)||None||$4,000||75%|
|Maryland||Yes||None (if both owe $)||$5,000||$6,000||75%|
|Michigan||Yes||$35,300 or $52,925 if elderly or disabled||$3,250||None||75%|
|New Jersey||None (if both owe $)||$1,000||$1,000||90%7|
|New Mexico||Yes||$30,000 (may double)||$4,000||$2,000||75%|
|New York||Yes||Varies by county See CVP § 5206||$4,000||$2,5008||90%|
|North Carolina||Yes||$10,000 (may double)||$1,500||$500||100%|
|Oregon||Yes||$25,000 ($30K couple)||$1,700 (2x)||$400||75%|
|Pennsylvania||Yes||None (if both owe $)||None||$300||100%|
|South Carolina||Yes||$50,000 (can double)||$5,000||$5,000||100%|
|Tennessee||$5,000 ($7.5K cpl)||$4,000 wildcard9||75%|
|Utah||$20,000 (can double)||$2,500 or $3,500||None||75%|
|Vermont||Yes||$75,000 (can double)||$2,500||$1,100||75%|
|Virginia||$5,000 (+$500/kid 2x)||$2,000||None||75%|
|West Virginia||Yes||$25,000 (can double)||$2,400||$800+||75%|
|Wyoming||$10,000 (can double)||$2,400||None||75%|
|Notes||1. Alaska: $716/wk (head of family) or $456/wk (non-head of family) 2. Florida: 100% (head of family only) or 75% for non-head of household 3. Iowa: 75%, but yearly total limited 4. California: $50k (single), $75k (married), $125K (65 or disabled) 5. Delaware: 85% of disposable 6. Illinois: 85% of gross 7. New Jersey: 90% of gross, unless judgment-debtor earns more that 250% of federal poverty level, then court has discretion to use federal 25% exemption. 8. New York: Account contains directly deposited exempt benefits, including Social Security, SSI, Veterans benefits, disability, pensions, child support, spousal maintenance, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, Public Assistance, Railroad Retirement benefits, and Black Lung benefits. Otherwise, $1,740 on all other accounts. See the New York LawHelp Consortium Consortium for more information. 9. Tennessee: Up to $4,000 of any personal property, including a financial account, can be exempted. See Tennessee § 26-2-103 for details.|
State-by-state collection laws. Source: Bills.com
The amounts listed in the chart’s columns are what is protected from collection, what you will be left with should a collector pursue a particular asset or your income. Pay attention to the footnotes, where listed.
FDCPA Applies refers to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, which customarily applies to collection agents/debt collectors. In the states indicated, the FDCPA applies to original creditors, too.
The Homestead Exemption shows the amount of equity in your primary residence that even a judgment-creditors cannot pursue. The exact amount you can protect depends on the exemption in your state of residence. Some states have no exemption whatsoever. Some states have unlimited exemptions, where all the equity in an expensive mansion is completely protected.
The Vehicle Exemption protects equity in one vehicle up to the amount listed for your state. If you owe money on the vehicle, subtract what you owe from what it is worth, to see if your vehicle is totally exempt or not. In some states, a vehicle that is worth more than the exempt amount can be seized and sold, with the exempt amount returned to the owner.
The Bank Account Exemption lists how much is safe from a judgment-creditor’s collection efforts. Some states offer no protections; anything in your account can be levied.
The Wage Exemption shows what part of your wages are protected from wage garnishment, and is the amount that most creditors cannot pursue.
Although we believe this information to be accurate as of the date of its posting, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. Consult with an attorney in your state for specific information regarding the laws and exemptions that apply to you in your circumstances.