I have applied for a Debt Relief Order (DRO) how long before it starts working?

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It’s imperative that you definitely do qualify for a Debt Relief Order (DRO); otherwise it will never start working. This may sound obvious but unfortunately not everyone is eligible to apply for a DRO.

Assuming you do qualify, you will need to contact an authorised advisor, aka an approved intermediary, as your application can only be done through them – they then apply on your behalf. This is because DROs don’t involve the courts but are instead issued by the Official Receiver via The Insolvency Service.

To apply for a DRO application will cost you £90 and must be paid in cash (non-refundable, even if your application is turned down). You may do so at any Payzone outlet, a list of which can be found at www.payzone.co.uk. You are permitted to pay this fee in instalments spread over a period of six months. However, it is of the utmost importance for you to note that no application will be considered until the entire £90 application fee has been received by The Insolvency Service in full.

Consequently, the time it takes from you applying for a DRO to the moment your DRO starts to work is very much dependent on how you choose – or are able – to pay for the application fee. So, please do consider this very, very carefully when weighing up whether to apply for a DRO in the first instance.

A list of approved and reputable authorities able to direct you to an authorised advisor to apply for a DRO can be found at The Insolvency Service online: http://www.bis.gov.uk/insolvency/personal-insolvency/dro-comp

While the application form can only be found online, after submitting it online you must also print and sign a hard copy and then send it to the following address:

 The Debt Relief Order Service
The Insolvency Service
1st Floor, Cobourg House
Mayflower Street

Once your application has been lodged and all forms submitted, you might be asked to provide the Official Receiver with further information regarding your financial state. It’s not definite the Official Receiver will need to contact you but you should cooperate fully if required as it will determine if your application gets approved – and therefore when/if your DRO starts.

Again, the Official Receiver may require further information after you application is approved. Again, you should cooperate fully if required, as it will determine whether your DRO is upheld.

Once up and running the DRO itself will usually last 12 months. This is known as a “Moratorium” period, during which time creditors will not be able to reclaim their money without court permission. After 12 months, you’ll be discharged from the debts that were listed in the terms set out by your Debt Relief Order.

A record of your DRO will be published on the Individual Insolvency Register at: www.bis.gov.uk/insolvency. Your name and address will remain on the register for a period of 15 months and will be available to the public.

Money Helper (formerly The Money Advice Service) is a free service set up by the Government to help people make the most of their money. If you would like to learn more click here.

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