What South Carolina exemptions are different from federal?

Question

What South Carolina exemptions are different from federal?

Answer

South Carolina wage garnishment laws are generous compared to federal wage garnishment laws. Federal law exempts either 75% of weekly disposable earnings or up 30 times the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, whichever is greater. South Carolina exempts 100% of wages from garnishment.

The wage garnishment law does not apply to student loan debt, alimony or child support payments since those are considered more important payment obligations than general creditors. Other states have wage garnishment laws but if they are less generous than federal law, then federal law applies to that particular creditor.

In South Carolina, general creditors have to go through the court before getting a wage garnishment.

With respect to bankruptcy, South Carolina has some different exemptions than federal law. For instance:

  • Real property (Federal: $16,150 for real property, etc. vs. South Carolina: $5,000 for residence)

  • Wages (Federal: none vs. South Carolina: only for personal services)
  • Business Partnership Property is exempt for an unlimited amount in South Carolina while federal law is silent
  • Retirement benefits (Federal: amount needed for support vs. South Carolina: unlimited)
  • Personal property:

 

Federal Law

South Carolina

Jewelry

$1,075.00

$500.00

Motor Vehicle

$2,575.00

$1,200.00

Animals, crops, books, etc.

$425 per item; up to $8,625 total

Up to $2,500 total

Tools of the trade

$1,625.00

$750.00

Burial Plots

Can be used instead of the real estate exemption

To $5,000 if the real estate exemption isn't used

So, in general South Carolina does have different exemptions than federal law in some instances.  Check the laws of each to determine what will be best for your situation.

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