We aim to make our website as accessible as possible. However if you use a screen reader and require debt advice you may find it easier to phone us instead. Our phone number is 0 8 0 0 1 3 8 1 1 1 1. Freephone (including all mobiles).

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

Going ahead with a debt relief order (DRO)

Find out what you need to do next

You have made a great start by getting in touch about your situation.

Please make sure you read all the information in your personal action plan before you take the next steps to go ahead with a DRO.

If you have not got your personal action plan, log in to your online account to get a copy. If you have not had a DRO recommendation from us, get free debt help and advice.

Before you go ahead with your DRO

We have found that a DRO might not be right for some clients after their situation has been reviewed by the DRO intermediary. This could be because:

You have spending that the Insolvency Service might not think is needed

If you have higher spending than what we would expect, a DRO might not be right for you. This may have been mentioned when you got debt advice from us:

  • If you used our online debt advice service, you may have been asked to reduce or explain the reason for spending higher than we would expect
  • If you spoke to an advisor, you may have talked about reducing this and reasons for spending higher than expected

If you are not sure if this applies to you, call us on 0300 303 2485 and we can look at your situation and spending to give you advice on the right debt solution for you.

You are over 54 and have private pension assets

If your pension balance after tax and fees is more than the total debt balance of eligible debts, a DRO might not be right for you. Your intermediary will talk about your pension assets (items of value) with you.

You are currently receiving Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

If you are not using the full amount of your PIP or DLA in your spending, your intermediary will discuss this with you.

Finding an approved intermediary

We don’t manage your debt relief order (DRO) application. You can only apply for a DRO through an ‘approved intermediary’. They are an authorised debt adviser that can make an application for you.

If you live in England or Wales

There are two government funded DRO hubs where approved intermediaries can process DRO applications:

Money Wellness

If you are eligible for a DRO, the DRO team Money Wellness can process your application without you having to re-start the debt advice process.

This service was launched to support people who have been advised by us. But it is up to you whether you decide to go ahead with a DRO with Money Wellness or another provider.

You will need to give them:

  • Evidence that you have had a DRO recommendation from StepChange. You can do this by sending a screenshot or photo of the DRO recommendation in your personal action plan
  • A copy of your budget and list of debts from your personal action plan

If you are ready to go ahead, visit our partner page on the Money Wellness website.

Citizens Advice

Citizens Advice have a network of local advice centres and a national helpline.

They will run through your situation when you contact them so have your budget and list of debts in your personal action plan ready when you contact them.

To find out more and get in touch visit the Citizen's Advice website.

Other approved intermediaries

As well as the two funded hubs, there are other debt advice organisations that also have approved intermediaries, these are listed on the GOV.UK website’s guide to getting a debt relief order.

If you live in Northern Ireland

Ready to go ahead with your application?

Your chosen intermediary will need details of your income, expenditure, and debts in your DRO application.

Your personal action plan contains all the information you told us in your debt advice session, so it would be useful to have this with you when you contact them.

What information will I need?

Your intermediary will guide you through the process, but it may be helpful for you to gather the following details to help complete your DRO application:

  • Proof of income
  • Proof of benefits, your most recent award letter
  • Account number and address for each creditor (England and Wales only)

How much does it cost?

England and Wales

There is no fee to apply for a DRO.

Northern Ireland

You will be asked to pay your £90 DRO application fee to the Insolvency Service.

You may be able to get help with paying this.

Your intermediary will be able to answer any further questions about the application process.

Tell your creditors you are getting help

Please contact your creditors and ask for time to deal with your debts.

Tell them you are getting help and ask them what "forbearance" is available.

This means you are asking your creditors to hold back from forcing you to pay your debt, or taking further legal action.

They will usually:

  • Stop their collection process
  • Give you time to set up your debt solution
  • Leave you alone for 30 days after you tell them you are getting help

If you have applied for Breathing Space, this can be up to 60 days. Give them a call or send them an email. There is a template in the 'Your next steps' section of your Personal Action Plan.

arrow iconTo access your personal action plan and find out more about how to go ahead with your solution, log in here