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i England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Getting a DRO

Am I eligible for a debt relief order?

A debt relief order (DRO) is a debt solution for people with little income and few assets. You must meet strict criteria to apply.

What are the qualifying criteria for a DRO?

You must have lived in (or run a business in) England, Wales or Northern Ireland for the last three years.

In England and Wales:

You cannot:


  • Have more than £75 left over each month after paying your household bills
  • Be a homeowner
  • You do not own a vehicle worth more than £2,000 (changing to £4,000 from 28 June). Or £1,000 in Northern Ireland
    • Vehicles adapted to help you with a physical disability are exempt from this cap
  • Own any assets worth more than £2,000
  • Be subject to any current bankruptcy or IVA proceedings, or
  • Have qualifying debt balances that total more than £30,000 (changing to £50,000 from 28 June). Or £20,000 in Northern Ireland
  • Have written off debt by completing a DRO in the last six years
    • This does not apply if you had a DRO approved but the debts were not written off
    • For example, if the the order was ‘revoked’ or cancelled

In Northern Ireland:

You cannot:


  • Have more than £50 left after paying your household bills each month
  • Be a homeowner
  • Own a vehicle that is worth more than £1,000
    • Vehicles adapted to help you with a physical disability are exempt from this cap
  • Own any assets worth more than £1,000
  • Have qualifying debt balances that total more than £20,000
  • Be subject to any current bankruptcy or IVA proceedings, or
  • Have written off debt by completing a DRO in the last six years
    • This does not apply if you had a DRO approved but the debts were not written off
    • For example, if the the order was ‘revoked’ or cancelled

An official receiver is assigned to deal with your DRO application.

They investigate your circumstances and can choose to decline a DRO if you have:


  • Given away property, money or assets in the last two years
  • Sold any property, money, or assets for less than their worth in the last two years
  • Favoured any of the people you owe in the last two years
    • This means paying one more than others

You must give the official receiver as much information as possible so they can make an informed decision.

It is an offence to mislead the official receiver while applying for a DRO.

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Considering a DRO?

We can help with free, impartial debt advice online now.

Get debt help

Considering a DRO? Get help now

Use our online debt advice tool to find the best solution for you.