How can we file for bankruptcy and how can I protect our bank account from having money taken out? 10 Answers as of September 15, 2016

My wife and I owe money on old bills and loans. My wife gets SSI and works part time. She is bipolar and has been in the hospital four times this year. We are not even sure she is able to keep her job. We got a letter today from the loan we own saying they will take the money out of our bank account. The only income coming in is her part time work and her SSI. I don't work because of my own health issues and I am trying to get on SSI. We need our money to live on.

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Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
You can exempt some of the money. You should also open a separate account for her paycheck and SSI, as SSi is exempt if it is not commingled with other money.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 9/15/2016
Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
In all likelihood, you are judgment proof ? meaning that your earnings are exempt from the reach of creditors. Do not be unduly intimidated by creditors. Generally, they are not lawyers and only care about collecting the debt. You would be wise to consult one of the law firms that devote themselves to neighborhood or poverty Law. Check your phone book, Or call your state bar lawyer referral service.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 9/15/2016
Patrick W. Currin, Attorney at Law | Patrick Currin
SSI is exempt and a creditor must obtain a judgment against you before they can levy a bank account. Work income can be protected in a bankruptcy and if you don't own a home, you can exempt well over $25,000 of liquid assets.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/14/2016
Kenneth A. Parker, P.C.
Kenneth A. Parker, P.C. | Ken Parker
Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney now. A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy will protect her bank account from being garnished. If you have given the creditor permission to take money out of your account in the past, you must go to the bank and revoke that permission.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 9/14/2016
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
Creditors may not attach SSI funds. Check and see if these "old" bills are outside the statute of limitations for your state. In California a creditor may not sue you on a debt that has not been paid or used more than 4 years ago. They cannot garnish wages without a judgement. If the debt is over the statute of limitations, save the letter. See a lawyer who handles "Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Cases."
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/14/2016
    Law Office of Michael Johnson
    Law Office of Michael Johnson | Michael Johnson
    Contact an attorney to discuss your options.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/14/2016
    A Fresh Start
    A Fresh Start | Dorothy G Bunce
    Unfortunately, you are not providing the kind of information I would need to to say whether you need to file bankruptcy or not. You probably should meet with a bankruptcy attorney to go over the many factors that go into determining if bankruptcy is a good choice or if other options exist. But I can answer your question about protecting your bank accounts. Make sure that the money your wife receives from SSI goes into its own account and that no money from any other source is deposited into this account. Any other money cannot be protected from a creditor with a court judgment.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/14/2016
    Freeman Law Group, LLC
    Freeman Law Group, LLC | Derek Freeman
    The first thing you should do is open a new bank account and make sure that only SSI payments go into one account, and all other income goes into the other. This will protect the bank account reserved for SSI payments, since SSI is exempt from collections. Your other account will still be subject to levies and seizure, however. The only way I know to stop this from happening is to file bankruptcy. When you file a bankruptcy case, you fall under the automatic stay, which is a court order that prevents creditors from collecting from you. This will stop any wage garnishments and bank levies.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/14/2016
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    You need seek counsel of a bankruptcy attorney and file to protect your assets from garnishment and seizure. SSI is exempt as is much of your other property.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/14/2016
    Ronald K. Nims LLC | Ronald K. Nims
    Yes, bankruptcy will prevent creditors from taking funds out of your accounts.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 9/14/2016
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