I have a judgement from January or February of 2009 for a credit card balance. they are only now putting a hold on funds on my checking account. can they do that after this long? I am receiving UC, have been unemployed for most of the past year, can they take my UC direct deposits from my account? Also, is there somewhere in the Reading area that I can speak with someone to get help with this? I have no money to pay an attorney. Thank you for any advice.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Judgments are good in PA for a period of 20 years on personal property like bank accounts and are good on real property for 5 years unless it is revived. So if the judgment was entered in 2009, then it is still good as far as collection goes. The judgment never goes away. It will drop off your credit report after 7 years (2016). It can be enforced against your bank account and any other personal property that you own free and clear until 2029 and against real property that you own or acquire in the future until Feb. of 2014 unless the judgment is renewed.
If you are getting unemployment compensation, that is exempt. Your bank needs to be aware that this is from a protected source and release the hold on the exempt funds.
Since you have no money, below are the statutory exemptions; unemployment compensation is the very last item listed.
If your bank still has a hold on the funds, you need to gather up any papers evidencing that the source of the funds is from unemployment compensation and take to the bank along with the below statute and see if the bank will release the hold as the funds are exempt.
You also need to send a copy of the papers showing that you get unemployment and a brief cover letter to the attorney for the creditor. In the letter you need to explain that the funds are exempt as per the below statute, direct them to the paperwork and ask them to release the hold on your account.
If the bank has released these funds to the court then you need to file a motion in the court to get your funds back. You should have been served with papers to ask for a hearing. On your motion or hearing request you need to allege that the funds are unemployment compensation and are exempt as per the below statute and ask for the funds to be returned to you.
42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8124. Exemption of particular property
(a) Goods.--The following personal property of the judgment debtor shall be exempt from attachment or execution on a judgment:
(1) Wearing apparel.
(2) Bibles and school books.
(3) Sewing machines belonging to seamstresses or used and owned by private families, but not including sewing machines kept for sale or hire.
(4) Uniforms and accoutrements as provided by 51 Pa.C.S. § 4103 (relating to exemption of uniforms and equipment).
(b) Retirement funds and accounts.--
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the following money or other property of the judgment debtor shall be exempt from attachment or execution on a judgment:
(i) Certain amounts payable under the Public School Employees' Retirement Code as provided by 24 Pa.C.S. § 8533 (relating to taxation, attachment and assignment of funds).
(ii) Certain amounts payable under the State Employees' Retirement Code as provided by 71 Pa.C.S. § 5953 (relating to taxation, attachment and assignment of funds).
(iii) The retirement allowance provided for in the act of May 24, 1893 (P.L. 129, No. 82). [FN1]
(iv) Compensation or pension provided for in the act of May 20, 1915 (P.L. 566, No. 242). [FN2]
(v) Compensation or pension provided for in the act of May 28, 1915 (P.L. 596, No. 259). [FN3]
(vi) The retirement allowance, contributions and returned contributions under the act of February 1, 1974 (P.L. 34, No. 15), known as the “Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement Law.” [FN4]
(vii) Any pension or annuity, whether by way of a gratuity or otherwise, granted or paid by any private corporation or employer to a retired employee under a plan or contract which provides that the pension or annuity shall not be assignable.
(viii) Any retirement or annuity fund of any self-employed person (to the extent of payments thereto made while solvent, but not exceeding the amount actually excluded or deducted as retirement funding for Federal income tax purposes) and the appreciation thereon, the income therefrom and the benefits or annuity payable thereunder.
(ix) Any retirement or annuity fund provided for under section 401(a), 403(a) and (b), 408, 408A, 409 or 530 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (Public Law 99-514, 26 U.S.C. § 401(a), 403(a) and (b), 408, 408A, 409 or 530), the appreciation thereon, the income therefrom, the benefits or annuity payable thereunder and transfers and rollovers between such funds. This subparagraph shall not apply to:
(A) Amounts contributed by the debtor to the retirement or annuity fund within one year before the debtor filed for bankruptcy. This shall not include amounts directly rolled over from other funds which are exempt from attachment under this subparagraph.
(B) Amounts contributed by the debtor to the retirement or annuity fund in excess of $15,000 within a one-year period. This shall not include amounts directly rolled over from other funds which are exempt from attachment under this subparagraph.
(C) Amounts deemed to be fraudulent conveyances.
(2) The exemptions provided by paragraph (1)(i) through (vi) shall be subject to any inconsistent provision of the act of July 8, 1978 (P.L. 752, No. 140), known as the “Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act.” [FN5]
(c) Insurance proceeds.--The following property or other rights of the judgment debtor shall be exempt from attachment or execution on a judgment:
(1) Certain amounts paid, provided or rendered by a fraternal benefit society as provided by 40 Pa.C.S. § 6531 (relating to benefits not attachable).
(2) Claims and compensation payments under the act of June 2, 1915 (P.L. 736, No. 338), known as “The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Law,” [FN6] except as otherwise provided in the act.
(3) Any policy or contract of insurance or annuity issued to a solvent insured who is the beneficiary thereof, except any part thereof exceeding an income or return of $100 per month.
(4) Any amount of proceeds retained by the insurer at maturity or otherwise under the terms of an annuity or policy of life insurance if the policy or a supplemental agreement provides that such proceeds and the income therefrom shall not be assignable.
(5) Any policy of group insurance or the proceeds thereof.
(6) The net amount payable under any annuity contract or policy of life insurance made for the benefit of or assigned to the spouse, children or dependent relative of the insured, whether or not the right to change the named beneficiary is reserved by or permitted to the insured. The preceding sentence shall not be applicable to the extent the judgment debtor is such spouse, child or other relative.
(7) The net amount payable under any accident or disability insurance.
(8) Certain amounts paid, provided or rendered by a fraternal benefit society as provided by section 305 of the act of July 29, 1977 (P.L. 105, No. 38), known as the “Fraternal Benefit Society Code.” [FN7]
(9) Certain amounts paid, provided or rendered under the provisions of section 106(f) of the act of July 19, 1974 (P.L. 489, No. 176), known as the “Pennsylvania No-fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act.” [FN8]
(10) Certain amounts paid, provided or rendered under the provisions of section 703 of the act of December 5, 1936 (2nd Sp.Sess., 1937 P.L. 2897, No. 1), known as the “Unemployment Compensation Law.” [FN9]