What is a Debt Relief Order?

The first Debt Relief Order (DRO) was approved 10 years ago in April 2009 with the aim of assisting people with small levels of assets and little surplus income deal with their debts*.

Since then, the Insolvency Service has approved more than 254,000 DROs to people with debts worth an average of £9,400.

People apply for a DRO through an authorised debt adviser, from organisations such as Citizens Advice, StepChange and PayPlan, who submit applications on-line to the Official Receiver on their client’s behalf.

Approximately 99% of DROs are approved within 48 hours of the application being received into the team in Plymouth and 2018 saw the Insolvency Service issue approximately £312 million of debt relief – the largest amount for a single year.

A DRO normally runs for 12 months after which the debts are written off and between 2009 and 2017, while 64% of DROs were granted to women, both genders experienced similar levels of average debt – £9,200 for women compared to £9,100 for men.

In the same period, 25% of DROs were granted to people aged between 25 and 34. London experienced the lowest rate of DROs in every year since 2009 – 3 per 10,000 adults – compared to both the North East and South West where the average rate of DROs per 10,000 adults was 7.8.

In October 2015, the upper limit for qualifying debt was raised from £15,000 to £20,000, and the asset limit was raised from £300 to £1,000.

There are 12 competent authorities: Angel Advance, Advice UK, Christian Against Poverty, Citizens Advice, CMAS, Debt Advisory Centre, Insolvency Practitioners Association, Institute of Money Advisors, Money Advice Trust, PayPlan, Shelter and Step Change.

Readers of this post who feel that their management of personal debt is running away from them, should contact one of the above support organisations to see if a DRO would be available.

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