There is an exemption available under federal law that protects social security benefits from the claims of almost all creditors. It protects both retirement and disability benefits from the claims of almost all creditors. Under federal law, a debtor’s social security benefits both “paid and payable” are protected. This means that any social security benefits a debtor can accumulate in a bank account are protected from their creditors. It also means that if you are awaiting a decision or have received a decision but not the lump sum award that sometimes results, you may keep these monies. It is best if these benefits are not commingled with other monies. However, as long as the social security benefit can be traced, it is still protected.
Conversely, under Florida law, a debtor is only entitled to accumulate up to 3 months of other benefits in a bank account. Similarly, pension benefits a debtor receives from a United States source may be accumulated in a bank account for up to 3 months and be protected from the claims of creditors under Florida law.