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

Completing your DRO application

If we’ve recommended a debt relief order (DRO) for you, it’s because this is the best way to deal with your debts based on the amount of money you’ve got coming in each month and after all of your household costs are covered.

Applying for a debt relief order can seem like a daunting process, but please don't worry. We're here to help you get your DRO up and running as soon as possible. 

On this page you’ll find…

A step by step guide on the information we need you to provide us in order to process your debt relief order.

A timeline that tells you what you can expect over the course of your DRO application from how and when to pay your DRO processing fee to when the Insolvency Service is likely to approve your DRO.

Don’t forget…

The MoneyAware team are here to support you while you’re sticking to a budget with money-saving tips and ways to increase your income.

What we need from you to complete you DRO application

So that we can complete your DRO application we need four things from you. To make sure we can complete your application as quickly as possible please send these four pieces of information to us in one envelope:

  1. A reference number or account number for each one of your debts
  2. Your signed and dated DRO agreement. You can use this form (PDF) whether you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland
  3. Proof of your income. Examples of this include:

    • your payslips for the last three months • your most recent benefits award letter • a recent bank statement. The amount shown on your proof of income needs to match the amount that’s on your budget. If it doesn’t make sure you include a note to tell us why
  4. This completed DRO checklist (PDF) that was included in the pack we sent you.

You need to send us this information because a DRO is a legal process and we can only complete your application once we have these.

You can post your documents to:

5th Floor, York House, 38 Great Charles Street, Birmingham, B3 3JY

If you post your information to us, make sure you take your envelope to the post office and pay the correct postage.

Once you’ve sent us all the information we need, we’ll complete your DRO application. While we do this, if we told you to open a new basic bank account during your advice session, please open one as soon as possible. It’s also important that you find out if your job, home, or any of your assets may be affected by a DRO.

How is a DRO set up?

  • Step 1 - Start the process

    We’ll put the information you’ve sent into your application. We do this electronically through the Insolvency Service application system.

  • Step 2 - Check your application

    Once we’ve processed all of your information we’ll send a draft copy of your DRO application for you to check. This is to make sure all your information is correct.

  • Step 3 - Pay your fee

    Once you’ve checked your application you need to pay a £90 fee to the Insolvency Service. You’ll be sent a letter with a barcode on and you use this to pay your fee at a Post Office or PayZone outlet.

  • Step 4 - Your acknowledgement

    Once you've paid your fee, contact each of your creditors and ask for your up-to-date balances. Please give give us a call with these balances as soon as possible. We'll submit your application and you'll be sent a final paper copy of your application form.

  • Step 5 - Approving your DRO

    The Insolvency Service will review your application and then decide whether to approve your DRO.

  • Step 6 - Confirmation

    The Insolvency Service will confirm their decision in writing within ten working days. If your application is approved, they'll tell your creditors. If your application isn't successful please get in touch with us and we’ll look at your other options.

Questions we’re frequently asked about DROs

Find out what to do in these common situations, both before your DRO is set up and after it's been approved.

If you have a change of circumstances during your DRO you'll need to contact us so we can check a DRO is still right for you.

Let them know you’re applying for a DRO.  You can make small payments to your creditors if you want to – we suggest £1 each at the most. You should concentrate on saving up your £90 DRO fee first though.

Even when your DRO has been approved your creditors could still contact you. Find out how to deal with creditor contact on a DRO.

You can own one vehicle for day-to-day use worth up to £1,000.  This is addition to the £1,000 of other assets you are allowed to own.

If your vehicle has been specially adapted to help you with a physical disability, the £1,000 limit won’t apply.

If you’re self-employed you can own a car for business purposes only, but this will be counted as part of your £1,000 other assets. 

If you've fallen behind with your household bills, the arrears will be included in your DRO application.  This includes gas, electric, water, council tax and similar bills.  However, TV licence arrears are an exception to this, and they are not included in a DRO.

This will be included in your DRO and if the overpayment is being recovered by reducing your current benefit payments, this will stop.  This means your income may go up. However, if the benefit overpayment was fraudulent, for example you’ve been prosecuted or admitted in an interview that you lied, the debt will not be written off at the end of the DRO moratorium.

If you live in England and Wales you can pay in instalments and submit your DRO application once you’ve paid the full £90.

Whether you live in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you can also request assistance with this fee from various charities, utility companies or trust funds. Turn2us can help you search for organisations who may be able to help.

You cannot add a debt to a DRO once it’s been approved. You'll have to contact this creditor and come to a separate arrangement to repay the debt.

This is rare, but if your DRO is revoked you need to contact us and we'll look at other ways to deal with your debts.

 

Matthew, West Yorkshire

"Just shy of £5,000 worth of debt now gone. I can't thank StepChange enough for helping me get this sorted."

Rebecca, Mid Glamorgan

"I felt like I had a life again and had a huge weight lifted off my shoulders."

Want to know more about your DRO? 

You can find more detailed information on your DRO by following the links below.

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 Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

We link to external websites where they contain relevant information for our visitors. We're not responsible for the content of these websites, or any infringement on your data rights under data protection regulations by any external website provider.

*This is the average rating of our service based on the StepChange reviews on Feefo by DMP and DRO clients three months into their solution.

© StepChange Debt Charity 2018