Where is the seizure limit for a private bankruptcy?

These exemptions apply to the seizure of wages and salary the essentials in brief

  • The legislator sets seizure exemptions in order to secure the subsistence level for debtors.
  • The amount of the attachable income depends on the amount of the debtor’s maintenance obligations.
  • Since July 1, 2017, EUR 1,133.80 per month can not be seized unless the debtor has any maintenance obligations.
  • From the merit, which goes beyond the seizure exemption, a part also remains with the debtor.
  • All sums exceeding € 3,476 are fully available.

In this guide


  1. Who do the seizure freedoms affect?
  2. How much of the income can be seized?
  3. What should never be seized?
  4. How does the seizure protection account relate to the garnishment table?

Who gets into a private bankruptcy, depends on the state to him enough money to live. Therefore, there are allowances that protect the debtor against impending foreclosures.

The statutory exemption limits for earned income are adjusted every two years from 1 July to the development of the tax exemption for the subsistence minimum. Most recently, they were raised on 1 July 2017. The next adjustment will take place on 1 July 2019 .

Who do the seizure freedoms affect?

Employees who do not pay their debts risk creditors turning to their employer and seizing their salary . However, there are certain formal requirements such as the so-called seizure and referral decision . In addition, the creditors can not earn the entire income, because there are seizure rights. The payroll office may only transfer part of the salary to the employee – the unavailable part . The rest goes to the employee’s creditors.

How much of the income can be seized?

The seizure protection for the current income consists of three elements: the basic allowance , the adjustment of the allowance for maintenance obligations and the enforcement restrictions , if the debtor earns more .

That counts to the net income

Garnishable is the net income. These include wages, salary, pensions, unemployment benefits I and II. All social security contributions and taxes must be deducted from this.

Non-attachable are some employer allowances, such as capital contributions, collectively agreed or occupational supplementary benefits, holiday pay or overtime pay.

If the debtor pays several incomes, they are added together. In the so-called attachment table, you can see how much you are left as a debtor. The table covers all earned income and social benefits.

This is the basic allowance for seizures

Since 1 July 2017, the basic allowance amounts to 1,133.80 euros . It applies to all debtors who do not have to meet any maintenance obligations.

Adjustment of the attachment exemption limit for maintenance obligations

Adjustment of the attachment exemption limit for maintenance obligations

The amount of attachable income depends on the number of dependent persons for whom you are liable as a debtor. These include, for example, biological children, spouses without income or divorced spouses, to whom you pay maintenance.

However, the employer may only consider the maintenance obligations that you actually pay , for example for a child. You have to prove this to the employer.

Depending on how many people a debtor has to pay maintenance , the attachment exemption limit increases . It is, for example, for a debtor with maintenance obligations to a person at € 1,569.99 and with maintenance obligations to two persons at € 1,799.99.

Seizure rights since July 1, 2017

Number of people Amounts exempt from execution
no alimony payment to 1.139,99 €
Payment to a dependent to 1.569,99 €
Payment to two dependents to € 1,799.99
Payment to three dependents to € 2,039.99
Payment to four dependents to 2.279,99 €
Payment to five dependents to 2.519,99 €

Enforcement restrictions on extra earnings

Enforcement restrictions on extra earnings

If an employee earns more than the attachment exemption limit relevant to him, he may retain part of it . The one who works and has debts should have more to live on than the person with debts who receives unemployment benefit I or II. Here again, the higher the number of dependents, the more attachment free.

In the following table you can see how much of 10 Euro earnings that go beyond the respective attachment exemption limit, remain free from attachment.

Increase of the attachment exemption limit for additional earnings

remain free from confiscation …
… from the first 10 € … from all other 10 €
0 5,66 € 3 €
1 5,25 € 5 €
2 9,30 € 6 €
3 8,79 € 7 €
4 8,74 € 8 €
5 9,14 € 9 €

All amounts over 3,475.79 euros are fully seizable. This limit is valid since 1 July 2017.

What should never be seized?

What should never be seized?

Certain elements of income are impracticable, such as expense allowances, danger supplements, child-raising allowances and study allowances. Other benefits, such as various forms of pension and support benefits, are only partially seizable. Our article on the seizure of wages describes the procedure for enforcement by the employer and refers to special rules.

How does the seizure protection account relate to the garnishment table?

Each debtor has the right to get seizure protection for a current account, in the form of a so-called P-account. First of all, the protection amount on the P account grants only a static basic allowance, which, regardless of the amount of income, is ultimately the same for all those affected.

It may, therefore, be that the seizure protection for labor income is higher than the basic seizure protection by the seizure protection account, for example because the account holder earns more and the seizure tax exemption increases.

As a result, an already seized wage can be repossessed by an additional account attachment. In order to secure the full unpaid income, you can submit an application for an increase in the exemption amount.