This is a simple question to pose, but the answer is a bit more complicated to give. Part of the complication lies in the fact that in bankruptcy social security has two identities: it is income, and it is an asset. The rest of the complication arises because there is more than one chapter of the Bankruptcy Code under which individuals and married couples file.
I. Social Security Income As An Asset
In any personal bankruptcy, one of the reporting requirements is found in 11 U.S.C. § 521(a)(1)(B)(i): “The debtor shall—file— . . . a schedule of assets . . .” Social security payments are an asset, and become part of the bankruptcy estate that is created when the debtor files for bankruptcy protection. (See 11 U.S.C. § 541(a)).
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