Money Wellness

Debt relief order (DRO) application process

A debt relief order (DRO) is a way to deal with debts if you:

  • owe £30,000 or less
  • don't own your home
  • don't own anything of much value
  • have very little money left after covering essentials each month

A DRO lasts for 12 months. If your financial situation doesn’t get better in that time, the debts included in your DRO are written off. That means you can't be asked to pay them back at any time.

DROs are available to people living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If you live in Scotland, you may want to consider the minimal assets process.

This guide explains everything you need to know about applying for a DRO.

How do I apply for a DRO?

You can’t apply for a debt relief order on your own. A company approved by the Insolvency Service has to submit the application on your behalf. We’re an approved company, so we can help with this.

The first thing you need to do when considering applying for a DRO is to make sure it’s the right option for you. A DRO is not something to be undertaken lightly as it’s likely to have a significant impact on your credit rating.

This means it’s important to get debt advice first. We offer free, impartial advice and will only recommend a. a DRO if we believe it’s the best solution given your individual circumstances.

If we think a DRO is right for you, we’ll:

  • go through your income, spending and debts
  • check you meet all the qualifying criteria
  • talk you through all the advantages and things you need to consider

If you qualify and decide that a DRO is the right option for you, you’ll need to send us evidence of your income, spending and debts. This will include things like:

  • pay slips
  • benefits letters
  • bills
  • bailiff letters
  • bank/credit-card/loan statements
  • demand letters

Applying for a DRO online

Once we have all the documents we need, we can fill in your application. We’ll ask you to check everything is correct. If you’re happy to go ahead, you’ll need to pay the Insolvency Service the £90 application fee. We can then submit your application online.

Will I have to fill in any forms?

We’ll fill in and submit the debt relief order application on your behalf. You’ll need to give us your personal details as well as information on your income, spending and debts so we can do this. We’ll also ask you to provide evidence of your income, spending and debts.

What happens once my application has been submitted?

Once your debt relief order application has been submitted, you just have to wait for the Insolvency Service to make a decision.

How long does it take for a DRO to be approved?

The Insolvency Service will decide whether to approve your debt relief order application within 10 working days (two weeks).

Could my DRO application be declined?

We only submit a debt relief order application if we believe it will be approved. But it is possible for applications to be refused.

If your DRO application is refused, the Insolvency Service will write to you explaining why. The main reasons your application might be declined are if you:

  • don’t meet the criteria
  • are suspected of being dishonest in your application
  • don’t provide extra information when asked

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