As millions of families suffer job loss or struggle to pay bills during COVID-19. states have an important role in protecting them from seizure of essential wages and property to pay old debts by over-aggressive debt buyer and collection industries. By updating exemption laws, states can prevent these debt collectors from reducing families to poverty. These protections also benefit the state by keeping workers in the workforce, helping families stay together, and reducing the demand on funds for unemployment compensation and social services.
NCLC surveys the exemption laws of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Sadly, not one jurisdiction’s laws meet basic standards so that debtors can continue to work productively to support themselves and their families.