New changes to DRO criteria from June 2021

From June  2021, new changes were made to the qualifying criteria for Debt Relief Orders (DROs). They included:

  • Raising the maximum debt level for DROs from £20,000 to £30,000
  • Raising the maximum asset levels from £1,000 to £2,000
  • Raising the maximum motor vehicle value level from £1,000 to £2,000
  • Raising the maximum surplus a person can have from £50 per month to £75 per month

This follows on from changes that were previously made to the old DRO qualifying criteria in October 2015, which can be seen below. This means that more people who are struggling with debts will now be able to consider DROs as a possible debt solution. 

What is a Debt Relief Order?

A Debt Relief Order (DRO) is basically a simpler version of bankruptcy that’s generally only available to non-homeowners with little or no assets and a monthly disposable income of £75 a month or less.

How can I apply for a DRO?

You can apply for a Debt Relief Order without attending court. You can only apply for a DRO through an ‘approved intermediary’.

So, what changed in October 2015?

In October 2015, the maximum allowable debt level for a DRO increased from £15,000 to £20,000, and the maximum asset limits rose £300 to £1,000. The allowable value of vehicles in a DRO was also limited to £1,000. 

How does a DRO work?

With a DRO, the debts listed in it are discharged (written off) a year after the DRO is approved, and you will then be free from those debts.

Anything to be aware of?

The disadvantages of DROs are that a record will remain on your credit file for six years. This will have an impact on your credit rating, and obtaining further credit is likely to be very difficult during this time.

You may also face restrictions on working in certain professions in the future, and your DRO will also be added to the Individual Insolvency Register.

How to find out more?

The Insolvency Service’s ‘Guide to Debt Relief Order’ gives further information on how it works and what to do next. Visit in England & Wales (or in Northern Ireland) and search for ‘debt relief order’ to download a copy of the guide. If you wish to proceed with a DRO application, please follow the instructions in the guide.

Further advice about Debt Relief Orders is available from your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) if you live in England or Wales or from Debt Advice NI if you live in Northern Ireland.