What Income is Protected From Paying Your Debts in Massachusetts?

If you have been threatened by a law suit form a Creditor, or even had a judgement entered against you for an old debt, you may have come to an agreement on payment terms.  At the time, it may have even seemed like a good idea.  However, often life gets in the way and circumstances change.  Often times we agree to something just to avoid going to court and later realize that there is just no way you can pay on your agreement.  If this situation hits too close to home, you should know that certain types of income are protected in Massachusetts from creditors, and even a District Court Judge can not make you pay out of those assets or protected income.

You are not required to use income from any of the following sources to pay a Plaintiff or Judgment creditor in the Bay State.

  1. If your gross income form wages are less than $600 per week, you do not have to pay;
  2. Unemployment benefits cannot be garnished;
  3. Worker’s Compensation weekly benefits cannot be garnished;
  4. Social Security benefits can not be taken from you;
  5. Federal Old-Age and Disability Insurance is protected;
  6. SSI benefits for anyone over 62, or who is blind or deaf are protected;
  7. Other private disability benefits up to $400 per week is protected;
  8. Emergency Aid for the elderly & disabled is protected;
  9. Certain Veterans benefits cannot be garnished;
  10. Payouts from certain Massachusetts employee pension plans

If you think that you are making payments that are based upon any of the above listed protected income sources, you can file a Motion with the Court and request a review to modify or even suspend any required court payments.  It is important to note though, that you should not just stop making payments on your own, as it could be a violation of the Court Order and you could be found in contempt, so make sure to notify the Court and the Creditor right away.

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