Illinois Bankruptcy Exemption Statutes


$15,000 of real estate or personal property that is occupied by the filer, including farm, lot & buildings, condo, co-op or mobile home.  If real estate or personal property is sold, the sale proceeds are exempt for one year. The spouse or child of a deceased owner may file for a homestead exemption. The State of Illinois recognizes, with some limitations, tenancy by the entireties (i.e. a form of joint ownership of property between spouses).

Personal Property

The following personal property may be exempt, either wholly or up to the dollar amount given:

  • $2,400 of vehicles
  • $15,000 of personal injury awards from lawsuits/settlements
  • Proceeds of sold property that was exempt from seizure
  • Awards from wrongful death lawsuits/settlements
  • Health aids
  • Bible, family pictures, schoolbooks & clothing
  • Prepaid tuition trust fund
  • Pre-need cemetery sales funds, care funds and trust funds
  • Illinois College Savings Pool accounts invested over one year prior to filing, if below federal gift tax limit, or 2 years before filing if above the gift tax limit.


  • $15,000 of homeowners’ proceeds for destruction of home
  • Life insurance proceeds to spouse or child of debtor-filer to amount required for support
  • The following insurance may be wholly exempt:
    • Life insurance annuity proceeds or cash value if the beneficiary of the policy is a dependent of the insured [child, parent, spouse, other dependent]
    • Health/disability benefits
    • Fraternal benefits society benefits

Pensions (note: tax-exempt retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, defined benefit plans, and traditional and Roth IRAs up to $1,095,000 are not covered by state law but ARE exempt under federal law)

  • ERISA-qualified benefits and IRAs
  • Pensions for the following occupations are exempt under IL law:
    • Civil service employees
    • County employees
    • Firefighters, disabled firefighters; widows and children of firefighters
    • General Assembly members
    • Correctional (jail/prison) employees
    • Judges
    • Municipal employees
    • Park employees
    • Public employees
    • Police officers
    • Public library employees
    • Sanitation district employees
    • State employees (including state university employees)
    • Teachers

Public Benefits

  • Social Security
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Public assistance
  • Aid to blind, elderly, disabled
  • Crime victims’ compensation
  • Veterans’ benefits
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Workers’ occupational hazard compensation
  • Restitution payments to Japanese Americans and Aleuts because of relocation during WWII


  • Wages: 85% minimum of earned but unpaid weekly wages or 45X federal minimum hourly wage (or state minimum wage, whichever is higher) – the bankruptcy judge is allowed to authorize bigger exemption for low-income filers
  • $4,000 of any personal property (not including wages)
  • Alimony and child support
  • Property of business partnership

The Illinois Code, including laws related to exemptions, is available here.  Links to specific sections regarding state exemptions follow below.

Please note: Laws may have changed since our last update. For the latest publication, please visit the state legislature sites directly, or speak with a bankruptcy attorney near you.

Real Property

Illinois Code Chapter 735-5/12-901, 906 - Homestead: Real or personal property including a farm, lot, & buildings, condo, co-op or mobile home to $15,000; sale proceeds exempt for 1 year

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-902 - Homestead: Spouse or child of deceased owner may claim homestead exemption

Illinois Chapter 750-65/22, 765-1005/1c - Homestead: Illinois recognizes tenancy by the entirety, with limitations

Personal Property

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(g)(4) Alimony, child support

Illinois Chapter 805-205/25 Property of business partnership

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(a) Bible, family pictures, schoolbooks and clothing

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(e) Health aids

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(j)  Illinois College Savings Pool accounts invested more than 1 year before filing if below federal gift tax limit, or 2 years before filing if above

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(c)  Motor vehicle to $2,400

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(h)(4) Personal injury recoveries to $15,000

Illinois Chapters 235-5/6-1, 760-100/4, 815-390/16 Pre-need cemetery sales funds, care funds, and trust funds

Illinois Chapter 110-979/45(g) Prepaid tuition trust fund

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001 Proceeds of sold exempt property

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(h)(2) Wrongful death recoveries

Illinois Chapter 740-170/4 - Wages: Minimum 85% of earned but unpaid weekly wages or 45 times the federal minimum hourly wage (or state minimum hourly wage, if higher); bankruptcy judge may authorize more for low-income

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(d) - Tools of Trade: Implements, books and tolls of trade to $1,500

Insurance Exemptions

Illinois Chapter 215-5/299.1a Fraternal benefit society benefits

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(g)(3) Health or disability benefits

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-907  Homeowners' proceeds if home destroyed, to $15, 000

Illinois Chapters 215-5/238, 735-5/12-1001(f) Life insurance, annuity proceeds, or cash value if beneficiary is insured's child, parent, spouse, or other dependent

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(f), 735-5/12-1001(g) Life insurance proceeds to a spouse or dependent of debtor to extent needed for support

Retirement Benefits

Illinois Chapter 40-5/11-232 - Pensions: Civil service employees

Illinois Chapter 40-5/9-228 - Pensions: County employees

Illinois Chapter 40-5/22-230 - Pensions: Disabled firefighters; widows and children of firefighters

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1006 - Pensions: IRAs and ERIS-qualified benefits

Illinois Chapter 40-5/4-135, 40-5/6-213 - Pensions: Firefighters

Illinois Chapter 40-5/2-154 - Pensions: General Assembly members

Illinois Chapter 40-5/19-117 - Pensions: House of correction employees

Illinois Chapter 40-5/18-161 - Pensions: Judges

Illinois Chapters 40-5/7-217(a), 40-5/8-244 - Pensions: Municipal employees

Illinois Chapter 40-5/12-190 - Pensions: Park employees

Illinois Chapters 40-5/3-144.1, 40-5/5-218 - Pensions: Police officers

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1006 - Pensions: Public Employees

Illinois Chapter 40-5/19-218 - Pensions: Public library employees

Illinois Chapter 40-5/13-805 - Pensions: Sanitation district employees

Illinois Chapter 40-5/14-147 - Pensions: State employees

Illinois Chapter 40-5/15-185 - Pensions: State university employees

Illinois Chapters 40-5/16-190, 40-5/17-151 - Pensions: Teachers

Public Benefits

Illinois Chapter 305-5/11-3 Aid to aged, blind disabled; public assistance

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(h)(1) Crime victims' compensation

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(12)(h)(5) Restitution payments on account of WWII relocation of Aleuts & Japanese Americans

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(g)(1) Social Security

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(g)(1), 735-5/12-1001(g)(3) Unemployment compensation

Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(g)(2) Veterans' benefits

Illinois Chapter 820-305/21 Workers' compensation

Illinois Chapter 820-310/21 Workers' occupational disease compensation


Illinois Chapter 735-5/12-1001(b) - $4,000 of any personal property (does not include wages)