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i This solution is only available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Debt relief orders. Is a DRO right for you?

A debt relief order (DRO) is a way to have your debts written off if you owe less than a fixed amount and have few assets. If you qualify, our specialist DRO team can apply to the Insolvency Service for you.

Debt relief orders are not available if you live in Scotland. In Scotland, a Minimal Assets Process (MAP) bankruptcy is a similar solution, but it’s important to note that it has different benefits, risks and fees associated with it.

DRO eligibility is changing on 1 October 2015

From 1 October, DRO eligibility changes in England and Wales. From this date the maximum amount of debt that can be included in a DRO application increases from £15,000 to £20,000. The amount of assets you can own when applying for a DRO will also increase from £300 to £1,000. You’ll still be able to own one motor vehicle worth £1,000 on top of this. There will be no other changes.

As of June 2015, in Northern Ireland the current eligibility criteria of £15,000 debts and £300 assets and £1,000 car value are NOT scheduled to change in October.

What happens if I apply for a DRO now?

If you apply for a DRO now, you will be assessed based on the criteria that comes into effect on 1 October. If you previously reviewed your budget with us and were not eligible for a DRO but believe you may be eligible now, please get in touch. We can review your budget based on this new criteria. 

Debt relief order advice at a glance

Benefits Risks
A debt relief order can be a low cost alternative to bankruptcy. A DRO is only available if you owe less than £20,000 and have less than £1000 in assets.
You don’t pay anything towards your debts for 12 months - and after that they will be written off. You'll need to pay the Insolvency Service a one-off fee of £90. If you qualify, our specialist team can help you apply.
Your creditors can't pursue you for your debts during the 12 month period. You can't apply if you're a homeowner.
Although a DRO is a formal debt solution, you don't need to appear in court. A DRO will appear on a public register and will affect your credit report negatively.


More information on DROs

Is a DRO suitable for me?

DROs are specifically designed for people with few assets and a relatively low level of debt. You may be eligible for a DRO if your debt totals less than £15,000, you have less than £300 in assets (and a car worth no more than £1,000) and less than £50 in surplus income per month. A DRO can be a cheaper alternative to bankruptcy.

You can only apply for a DRO if you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. If you live in Scotland read our debt advice in Scotland page for more information on the solutions available to you.

How does a DRO work?

A DRO freezes your debt repayments and interest for 12 months. If your financial situation hasn’t changed at the end of this period then your debts will be written off.

How much does a DRO cost?

A DRO will cost £90. This is the amount charged by the Insolvency Service to process a DRO application. You can't get any discounts or exemptions like you can with bankruptcy fees, so the full £90 needs to be paid before your application can be submitted.

The fee can be paid in one lump sum or in instalments over a 6 month period. Once your fee has been paid and your application is submitted you can't get your money back, even if the DRO is rejected or revoked.

What next? How to apply.

  1. The first step is to see if you qualify for a DRO, and if it’s your best option. To do this use Debt Remedy, our free anonymous online advice tool or call our free Helpline.
  2. If a DRO is the best solution to your debt problem, we'll send you the necessary forms and help you apply. You'll need to complete these and return them to our specialist DRO team.
  3. Our DRO team will then prepare your application. Before they submit this there is a £90 fee that must be paid to the Insolvency Service, in full or in instalments. Once the fee has been completely paid, we can submit your application.

Qualify for a DRO? FREE personal debt advice in 20 mins

Complete our FREE Debt Remedy tool to see if a DRO is right for you

  • Completely anonymous
  • Free and easy to use

Try Debt Remedy

Why choose us?

  • Our help is FREEWe won’t charge you a penny for the help and support we provide while you apply for a DRO.
  • Specialist advisorsOur specialist advisors are experts in DROs and will be able to answer any questions you have.

DRO guide

Read our debt relief order guide for practical information on DROs.

Download our DRO guide

Helping you become debt free...

"I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me." (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling (trading as StepChange Debt Charity) is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (Company No: 2757055 ) and a charity registered in England and Wales (Registered Charity No: 1016630). Registered office: Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG. Consumer Credit Counselling Service (Scotland) trading as StepChange Debt Charity Scotland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland (Company No: SC162719) and a charity registered in Scotland (Registered Charity No:SC024413). Registered office: 33 Bothwell Street, Glasgow G2 6NL. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.