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Your guide to applying for a Debt Relief Order with CAP

Every year our team takes around 1500 clients through a Debt Relief Order (we'll call it a DRO from now on). You might not have heard of a DRO but at CAP, we deal with them every day. Our aim is to help you get debt free and a DRO can be part of this process, so let's take a look at what's involved. 

What is a Debt Relief Order?

A DRO is a legal process. It is designed to clear most debts that are included in it so that you can become debt free. It’s for people with a low level of debt, who are on a low income and have few or no assets. You don’t have to go to court to apply for a DRO, and the fee is just £90 per person. There is no risk to your possessions in a DRO.

Let's look a little more closely at whether this could be a good route for you.

Can I get a Debt Relief Order?

To apply for a DRO you must have:

  • Less than £30,000 of qualifying debt.
  • Less than £75 per month disposable income - that's the money left after paying your expenses each month - things like food, rent and bills.
  • Your car or other motor vehicle, if you have one, must be worth £2,000 or less.
  • Any other assets, if you have them, must be worth a total of £2,000 or less.
  • Your application is not likely to be accepted if you have paid more to one of your creditors (including friends or family members) than the others, or transferred any assets into someone else’s name. CAP will also arrange to see a copy of your credit report before we apply for your DRO.

We'll let you know whether a DRO would work for you as part of your CAP Plan. Let's take a look at the DRO process - you might be surprised at how simple it is.

The Debt Relief Order Process with CAP


Getting started

You’ll receive a letter from us explaining your insolvency advice along with a copy of the Full Client Agreement, which you need to sign and return. If your case has just been set up, your Debt Coach may have already discussed this with you.


Paying for your DRO

It costs £90 per person to apply for a DRO. This is a fee you’ll have to pay to the Insolvency Service. This is not a fee payable to CAP for our service which is, and will always be, free of charge.


Your Credit Report

When CAP supports you towards a Debt Relief Order application, one thing we need is a credit report. This lets us check that none of your debts have been forgotten. At CAP we work with a company called Experian to obtain credit reports. If you’re a new client we’ll ask if you will sign a Credit Report Consent Form: this allows us to access the credit report for you. If you haven’t signed this (or haven’t been asked to) then you may receive a letter from Experian containing a passcode, which lets us download a credit report for you. Please call us as soon as you receive it as this code is time sensitive and can expire.


Pre-application check

Next, we’ll carry out a pre-application check. Our experienced advisors will make sure we’ve got everything in place to go through the DRO on your behalf.


Submitting your application

When we think your application is ready we’ll be in touch with you. Usually we’ll arrange a time to call you to go through it together. If that’s not possible, we’ll post the documents to you. Once you’ve confirmed you’re happy with your application, we will submit it online to the Insolvency Service.


That's it!

It's all done! It usually take around 3-5 working days for your application to be approved. Once it is, all the creditors included in your application can no longer chase you for payment!

What happens once I have a DRO?

You might be wondering how the DRO will affect other areas of your life. Hopefully our answers below will help to put your mind at rest.

Will the DRO cover all my debts?

As soon as your DRO is granted, the qualifying debts that you list in your DRO are effectively written off. Some debts cannot be included in a DRO. These include magistrates' court fines, CSA/maintenance arrears, student loans, social fund loans or any fraudulent debt.

How long does a DRO last?

Your debts are written off as soon as your DRO is granted. It's a permanent arrangement, it's not delaying repayment, it's writing off the debt. However, for the 12 months after your DRO is granted, some conditions apply. Read the next question to find out more. 

What if my financial situation changes?

During the first 12 months after the DRO is granted, if your financial situation changes, the order can be cancelled and your debts reinstated. This can include things like being given a lump sum of money, a valuable asset or if your disposal income goes up because you are earning more. 

How will the DRO affect my life?

The DRO will appear on your credit report for six years from the date it is accepted. It will also be listed in the public domain on the Insolvency Service’s online register for 15 months.

For the year of your DRO, you cannot hold certain jobs, including being a solicitor, trustee of a charity or director of a limited company. If you wish to borrow another £500 or more, you must tell that creditor that you are already in a DRO.

Key information

Your to-do list

  • Pay the correct amount into your CAP Plan on time each month.
  • Send in all the information we ask for and keep us up to date with any changes to your circumstances.
  • Send on any letters you receive from creditors to us.
  • Check the Frequently Asked Questions page if anything is still unclear.

Keep in touch

It’s a good idea to make a note of our contact details so you can find them really easily. Save the numbers in your phone, keep a note in your wallet or purse or stick it on the fridge. 

There are four ways to contact us:

By text:

07860 033177

By email:
Please pop your CAP Plan number into the subject box to help us track your case easily (you’ll find this on any letters from us).

By phone:

01274 761999
Remember to have your CAP Plan number to hand before you call (this will be on any letter from us) and be ready to answer a few security questions. Lines are open 9:30am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9.30am to 3.30pm on Fridays.

By post:

We provide you with freepost envelopes to make sure your mail comes straight through to us and can be dealt with quickly. If you run out of envelopes, carefully write the following address on a blank envelope – no stamp needed!    

Christians Against Poverty
Jubilee Mill
30 North Street