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Benefit from the Experience of Attorneys Bill and Valerie Sherman Former Assistant Attorney General, Assistant County Attorneys and Magistrate Judge

What Will Happen to My Pension from the NFL If I File Bankruptcy?

Question: I'm a former NFL player and I've hit some hard times financially. I had a pretty long career playing pro football with several teams and even made the pro bowl. But I made some bad investments in a salami factory, a pinball machine company and in my friend's online gambling and psychic business. I need to file bankruptcy because I'm always getting calls from creditors. The creditors said they'll sue me and garnish my bank account. I just don't have the money to pay people and I'm even worried that my car will get a repo. I get an NFL pension and was wondering if that can be taken from me if I file bankruptcy?

Answer: Pensions are generally exempt from bankruptcy. In other words, a creditor or a United States Bankruptcy Trustee cannot take your pension. However, once the pension money hits your bank account, it is counted as income. That is true for other retire accounts such as IRA's and 401 (k)'s. Please note that a creditor can only garnish a bank account or someone's salary if they first go to court and obtain a judgment and then get a court order allowing a garnishment. Filing bankruptcy, either a chapter 7 or chapter 13, will stop a garnishment.