How Much Cash Can You Keep When Filing for Bankruptcy?

counting money

Keeping cash when filing for bankruptcy is something virtually every person who contemplates a bankruptcy filing thinks about. You don’t want to be left without any cash at all, unable to pay for your most basic needs, so you must have answers to questions like this before you file for Ohio bankruptcy. Bankruptcies in the United States surged by 18 percent in 2023, thanks in part to higher interest rates, tougher lending standards, and huge amounts of medical debt. According to, there were 433,658 personal bankruptcy filings across the U.S. in 2023 as compared to 383,810 in 2022. Businesses fared no better, with a 29.9 percent rise in business bankruptcy filings between 2022 and 2023. 

The best step you can take if you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy is to speak to a knowledgeable Centerville bankruptcy attorney from Horwitz & Horwitz. Attorney Barbara Horwitz can help you determine whether bankruptcy is right for your unique situation. Fully understanding that the bankruptcy process can be difficult and filled with anxiety, Barbara will work with you to make your bankruptcy filing as easy and stress-free as possible. Horwitz & Horwitz will be the strong advocate you need during this tough time.  

How Much Cash Can I Keep When Filing for Ohio Bankruptcy?

If you are worried about keeping cash when filing for Ohio bankruptcy, knowing the facts related to the amount of cash you can keep can ease your worry. Essentially, you can keep up to $550 in cash, either in your bank account or on hand. Add to that $550 the “wildcard” exemption, which allows you to exempt up to $1,475 for any property you choose. This could allow you to technically keep up to $2,025 of your cash to help you pay your upcoming expenses. 

Does Keeping Cash When Filing for Bankruptcy Depend on Whether You are Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Keeping cash when filing for bankruptcy does change somewhat between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. Under Chapter 13, you also have the $550 cash exemption along with a wildcard exemption up to $1,475, allowing you to keep $2,025 in cash under Chapter 13. However, when filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can claim and exempt 75 percent of the wages you earned in the preceding 30 days. If you are receiving Social Security retirement, these benefits are exempt regardless of their amount. Other considerations under Chapter 13 vary according to the amount of money, the timing of when it was received, and the nature of the income that produced the money.

Are There Certain Bankruptcy Exemptions Available to Protect Your Cash?

In addition to your cash and wildcard exemptions as well as your Social Security benefits, you are also allowed to keep the following when you file for Ohio bankruptcy:

  • If you have received a personal injury award within 12 months of the time you file for bankruptcy, you will be allowed to keep $27,950 of that award. 
  • You are allowed to keep spousal support and/or child support to the extent those funds are necessary to pay your necessary monthly bills. 
  • Private pensions and state teacher retirement benefits are exempt. 
  • Any funds in a 529 savings plan are considered exempt under Ohio bankruptcy laws. 
  • Some level of benevolent society death benefits can be retained.
  • If you are a crime victim who received crime victim’s compensation during the 12 months before filing for Ohio bankruptcy, you can keep this compensation. 
  • Disability assistance payments are exempt. 
  • Unemployment compensation benefits, vocational rehabilitation benefits, and workers’ compensation benefits are all considered exempt under Ohio bankruptcy laws. 
  • Earned income tax credits and child tax credits are exempt funds under bankruptcy laws. 
  • If you have your own business that requires certain “tools of the trade,” you are allowed to keep up to $2,825 in value of these tools, books, and implements.

What Cash is Not Exempt When Filing for Bankruptcy?

Aside from the cash exemptions and other exemptions listed above, you will be required to turn over any excess cash to the trustee managing your bankruptcy. The following non-exempt assets will likely have to be turned over and liquidated once you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the state of Ohio:

  • If you have investments, stocks, and bonds that are not a part of your retirement accounts, these must be liquidated. 
  • You cannot take an exemption for property that’s not a personal residence, but you still may keep the property. If there’s little to no equity, you can keep the investment property and keep paying on the mortgage. This may lead to other consequences with your plan and should be discussed with your bankruptcy attorney.
  • The vehicle exemption is fairly low, which means that expensive vehicles are generally not covered under bankruptcy exemptions. 
  • High-priced collectibles, such as art collections, are not exempt under bankruptcy laws. 
  • Other luxury items, including expensive clothing and jewelry, may have to be liquidated. 

Always speak to a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney from Horwitz & Horwitz, as there may be certain strategies that can be used to retain more of your assets or help you with keeping cash when filing for bankruptcy. 

How a Horwitz & Horwitz Attorney Can Help You Evaluate Keeping Cash When Filing for Bankruptcy

While you may have many different choices for a bankruptcy lawyer in Centerville, Springboro, Beavercreek, Miamisburg, and Kettering, at Horwitz & Horwitz we believe that once you have spoken to our highly experienced bankruptcy attorney your choice will be clear. You never need to be embarrassed or hesitant to share your personal financial details with attorney Barbara Horwitz. At Horwitz & Horwitz we believe in your right to a fresh financial start, and we are here to help you do just that. 

After thoroughly evaluating your unique situation and answering all your questions, we will help you determine whether bankruptcy is right for you—and if so, which type of bankruptcy will give you the most financial relief. Our goal is to make the bankruptcy process as easy and stress-free as possible while we support and advocate for you at every turn. Attorneys Barbara Horwitz and Jon Horwitz are dedicated to helping good people like you who are facing financial difficulties by putting our knowledge and skills to work on your behalf. Contact Horwitz & Horwitz today for the solid advice and answers you need regarding a potential bankruptcy filing.