IS PUBLIC AID AND ASSISTANCE EXEMPT?

I sometimes have someone call me worried and upset who is receiving public aid or assistance in South Carolina.  This is usually caused by a creditor who is telling someone that they will take or stop this public aid or assistance if the creditor is not paid money.  This is simply a lie being told you by the creditor or collector.  This will not happen whether you pay money or not.

South Carolina Code of Laws Section 43-5-190 says that public assistance payments are exempt from levy by a creditor, tax collector and the payment may not be transferred or assigned to anyone so that they have the right to receive the payment.

This provision also protects this asset if you file a bankruptcy case under Chapter 7, Chapter 11 or Chapter 13.   It may sound strange, but, sometimes even someone who is so poor that they are receiving public assistance may need to file bankruptcy to protect an asset.

Creditors will often talk someone into putting a lien on some of their household goods or car.  The creditor has the right to take the household goods and/or car from you.  In bankruptcy it is often possible to get rid of a lien on a car or household goods by either avoiding the lien or paying the lien off.

Title loans on vehicles often have interest rates in excess of 300 per cent per year so even a small loan amount may cause you to pay much more than just the amount borrowed.  Even a loan on household goods my have an interest rate of 30-50 per cent per year.   A lien avoidance or simply lowering the interest rate to a much lower number may allow you to pay off the loan in an amount you can afford to pay.

If a debtor is able to start making payments and also begin to rebuild the rest of their life by using bankruptcy, then, it is possible that bankruptcy may be the best way to start on that long trek to happiness.

Even if you are on public assistance, you should still contact a competent professional to advise you of your rights and help you plan your future.

 

About Nathan Davis, Esquire

Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Nathan Davis has been practicing law for many years. Mr. Davis has a wide variety of experiences having practiced domestic relations, criminal law, social security law having also practiced collection law in the past. This knowledge is helpful when someone needs to restart their financial life. The practice is now primarily bankruptcy and debtor representation work, but, Mr. Davis continues to also practice real estate law, trusts and estates and a general litigation practice. I believe that the most important part of representation is trying to leave you better off when the case is finished than when you started. Although I will do as my client directs, I will always tell you if I think that you are making a mistake. Bankruptcy is about a "fresh start". If you do not make changes in what you are doing, you will be doing what you are doing now in the future. There is no shame in bankruptcy or other steps that you may take to start your life over. Too often, people worry more about things than about themselves, their family or their future.
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