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

Getting a DRO

How to apply for a DRO

You can’t apply for a debt relief order (DRO) application on your own. Your application must go through an intermediary approved by the Insolvency Service, like ourselves.

A debt relief order (DRO) is a form of insolvency designed as a low cost alternative to bankruptcy. It’s suitable for people on a low income, who have a relatively low level of debt that they’re unable to repay within a reasonable amount of time.

For your DRO application to be accepted by the Insolvency Service you must match certain qualifying criteria.

Is a DRO right for you?

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Why would my DRO application be declined?

Your DRO application will be declined if:

  • The total value of your qualifying debts is more than £20,000
  • You have assets worth more than £1,000 - though you can own a domestic motor vehicle worth up to £1,000 in addition to this
  • You have more than £50 each month in surplus income
  • You're currently under another insolvency solution, like bankruptcy or an IVA
  • You own a domestic vehicle worth more than £1,000
  • You're a homeowner

Do I need to go to court to apply for a DRO?

A DRO is not made by a judge so you don’t need to apply through the court for one.

How do I apply for a debt relief order?

We’re authorised to submit your debt relief order application to the official receiver at the Insolvency Service. We’ll assess your financial situation to make sure a DRO is the best solution to your debt problem.

If it is, we'll send you the information you need to apply for a DRO. This will include providing us with details of your debts and proof of your income.

"They were so kind, they listened patiently and helped me through the process" Alison, Kent

Online DRO application

Once our specialist DRO team receive your documents they’ll check that you're definitely eligible. Once we've done this we'll register your DRO application and complete the application process. Once you’ve checked the application and paid the £90 fee, your application will be submitted to the Insolvency Service.

How much is the debt relief order application fee?

There’s a £90 fee, which must be paid to the Insolvency Service using a special barcode letter that you'll receive with the application form. The fee can paid in full or in instalments if you live in England or Wales, but if you live in Northern Ireland you must pay it on one go.

The £90 fee to the Insolvency Service is the only fee you’ll pay for a DRO.

We cannot submit your application until the £90 fee has been paid in full.

I can't afford the DRO fee. Is any help available?

In some cases, you can apply to have the fee paid by a charity or trust fund, but it’s not guaranteed that you’ll qualify. Should you be recommended a DRO we can talk through the process of applying for help with your DRO fee.

What happens after I've submitted the application?

If your debt relief order application is approved by the Insolvency Service your debts will be put on hold for 12 months. This is called the ‘moratorium’. At this point you'll stop making any repayments to your debts.

Your creditors can continue to add interest and charges during this period but it has no effect on you unless your DRO is cancelled (revoked) during the 12 months. 

If after a year your circumstances haven’t improved, the debts listed in your DRO application will be written off.

Get free debt advice

If you‘re considering making a DRO application then complete our online Debt Remedy tool. This will provide you with the debt help you need, and understand whether you qualify.

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.

*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 2017