Pennsylvania Exemption Notes

Pennsylvania state law exemptions are some of the most stingy in the nation with no homestead exemption and a wildcard exemption of only $300.

However Pennyslyvania does recognize Tenancy By the Entirety, which might be the only reason a debtor might want to use the state exemptions — if they are filing separately from their spouse, and owe debts separate from their spouse.  

The Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions are available in Pennsylvania and are far more generous than state law exemptions, and so most debtors in Pennsylvania use the federal exemptions system under 11 U.S.C. § 522(d).

Other discussions of Pennsylvania Exemptions on the web. 

Both UpSolve and Nolo also feature discussion of Pennsylvania  bankruptcy exemptions, but Upsolve simply lists the federal exemptions as the ones to use in Pennsylvania. 


Can I use the §522(d) Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions in Pennsylvania?

Yes. Federal exemptions are available.



None; however, property held as tenancy by the entirety may be exempt against debts owed by only one spouse

Motor Vehicle



$300 of any property, including cash, real property, securities, or proceeds from sale of exempt property

Personal Property

Bibles & schoolbooks
Military uniforms & accoutrements
Sewing machines

See Also:
  • Homestead

  • Homestead [US] Real property, including co-op or mobile home, or burial plot to $27,900; unused portion of homestead to $13,950 may be applied to any property
  • Tenancy by Entirety

  • Tenancy by Entirety [US] Tenancy by entirety is exempt only if debtor chooses State & Non-bankruptcy exemptions.
  • Insurance — Life, Disability

  • Insurance — Life, Disability [US] Disability, illness, or unemployment benefits
  • Insurance — Life, Disability [US] Life insurance payments from policy for person you depended on, needed for support
  • Insurance — Life, Disability [US] Life insurance policy loan value, in accured dividends or interest, to $14,875
  • Insurance — Life, Disability [US] Unamtured life insurance contract, except credit insurance policy
  • Pensions & Retirement Savings

  • Pensions & Retirement Savings [US] All types of retirement funds and accounts that tax-exempt under IRC section 401, 403, 408, 408A, 414, 457, or 501(a) ; IRAs & Roth IRAs limited to $1,512,350 (excluding rollover contributions); limitation can be overidden by judge.
  • Personal Property

  • Personal Property [US] Animals, crops, clothing, appliances, books, furnishings, household goods, musical instruments to $700 per item, $14,875 total
  • Personal Property [US] Health aids
  • Personal Property [US] Jewelry to $1,875
  • Personal Property [US] Lost earnings payments
  • Personal Property [US] Motor vehicle to $4,450
  • Personal Property [US] Personal injury recoveries to $27,900 (not to include pain & suffering or pecuniary loss)
  • Personal Property [US] Wrongful death recoveries for person you depended on
  • Public Benefits

  • Public Benefits [US] Crime victims' compensation
  • Public Benefits [US] Social Security
  • Public Benefits [US] Unemployment compensation
  • Public Benefits [US] Veteran's benefits
  • Tools of Trade

  • Tools of Trade [US] Implements, books, & tools of trade to $2,800
  • Wages

  • Wages [US] None
  • Wild Card

  • Wild Card [US] $1,475 of any property
  • Wild Card [US] Up to $13,950 of unused homestead exemption amount, for any property.
  • Miscellaneous

  • Miscellaneous [US] Alimony, child support needed for support

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