I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "protections". Unless it is social security disability, your disability income received in the 6 calendar months prior to filing your case gets included on the means test calculations. If it is ongoing, it also gets included in your budget analysis for Schedules "I" and "J".
All that determines is which bankruptcy chapter you are eligible for. It doesn't have anything to do with "protecting" anything.
The rights to receive the future disability payments is an ASSET which you must exempt in order to protect in a Chapter 7 case. If this is from a disability or health insurance policy or program, California does have an exemption that, with some exceptions, would protect that in a Chapter 7 case. This has nothing to do, however, with the means test.
If you are considering filing a bankruptcy case, you should have a consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. This is not something you want to try to handle yourself, or even try to determine yourself if you are eligible.
Mark Markus has been practicing exclusively bankruptcy law in California since 1991. He is a Certified Specialist in Bankruptcy Law by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, AV-Rated by martindale.com, and A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau.
Legal disclaimer: Mark J. Markus practices law in California only. The information is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation. Answering this question does not in any way constitute legal representation.
Mr. Markus has provided you with the information you need to realize this is not something you can figure out for yourself.
I frequently feel we do a disservice when we attempt to answer questions such as yours which are devoid of any facts and suggest the Asker is attempting to represent himself in situations where we know he will "do himself in" if unrepresented by qualified counsel.
Your question suggests you can afford competent legal representation which will surely save you time, money, and sleepless hours. Mr. Markus is a certified specialist. You will do well to consult him with respect to your situation and retain him to file an appropriate petition, if necessary.
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Pensions are fully exempt. As far as the means test goes you still have to list it and it may put you above median depending on how much you are getting every month.