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How will a DRO affect me

Debt relief orders and contact from creditors

The official receiver will contact the creditors in your application when your debt relief order (DRO) is approved. They should now stop contacting you.

Some people you owe may still get in touch.

Do not worry if this happens. Your DRO provider will help you.

It might be that:

  • The debt has been passed to a debt collector, or
  • They are still updating their records

Once the 12-month moratorium period is over, debts included in your debt relief order are written off. Unless your situation improves.

You are not notified when a DRO ends, so it is worth noting the date it is approved.

What your creditors cannot do if you are on a DRO

Your creditors cannot:

  • Contact you to ask for payment
  • Take you to court
  • Send a debt collector to your home

Remind them about your DRO if:

Contact the DRO team at the Insolvency Service if they do not stop after you remind them.

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Bailiff contact on a DRO

Bailiffs can try to take goods from you if they already had a 'controlled goods arrangement'.

  • Your DRO does not stop them taking and selling your things
  • You must keep up with payments

Action can also be taken on hire purchase debts.

Find out more about dealing with bailiffs.

Deductions from benefits and DROs

Overpayments taken from your benefits should stop when your DRO is approved.

  • This causes your benefits to go up a bit
  • The DRO provider should have taken this into account
  • You do not need to contact them or the Insolvency Service

Tell the benefits agencies about your DRO if the deductions do not stop.

Paying for utilities through a pre-payment meter

Payments from your meter should stop if the arrears are included in your DRO.

Contact your supplier directly if they do not update your meter. Tell them about your DRO.

Priority arrears and DROs

Once approved, you should stop paying household arrears included in your DRO application.

This could be:

  • Council tax
  • Gas
  • Electricity

For Direct Debit payments:

  • Contact the company
  • Ask them to change the amount you pay
  • It should now cover your normal payment

For standing orders:

  • Contact your bank
  • Change the payments yourself

What does it mean to ‘discharge a debt’?

‘Discharging a debt’ means it is cancelled. This is because it is in your DRO.

  • You are no longer liable for the debt
  • The people you owe cannot keep trying to get the money from you
  • But you must meet the conditions of your DRO

Can a creditor collect on a discharged debt?

Not usually.

A collection agency might try to collect. This is because:

  • They buy the debt during your DRO moratorium period
  • They do not know your debt was discharged
  • The official receiver does not tell them about your DRO

You need to:

  • Send the collection agency a copy of your approval letter
  • This is proof the debt is included in your DRO

You can also tell them to:

  • Check the Insolvency Register themselves
  • Ask the original creditor. They will know about the DRO

How often can I apply for a debt relief order?

You cannot apply for a DRO for six years after:

  • You make an application
  • It is successful

This is true even if your DRO is cancelled after approval.

Find out if a DRO is right for you

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