Who can get debt written off and how?

Debt is one of the most stressful things we have to contend with within the modern world: it’s so easy to rack up, but so difficult to pay off if it gets out of hand. Luckily, there are still various options available to people who are heavily in debt, so there’s no reason to lose hope.

If you meet certain criteria, you might be able to have some of your debt written off. In this article, we explore who qualifies for having their debt wiped and how to go about doing this with an iva advisor

Debt Relief Order (DRO)

If you have few assets, don’t own your home, and owe creditors less than £30,000, you may be able to apply for a debt relief order. This debt solution came into existence in 2009 for residents in England and Wales, and it can be a better alternative to bankruptcy for most people. 

This is an easier, quicker, and typically much cheaper alternative to bankruptcy. If you manage to get a DRO, your creditors cannot legally recover money from you unless a court gives them permission. After 12 months, you’ll likely be ‘discharged’ from your debts, which means they’ll be written off. 

Here are the criteria for applying for a DRO:

  • Your debts don’t exceed £30,000
  • You have less than £75 spare income each month
  • You’ve been a resident of England or Wales in the last 3 years
  • You have less than £2,000 in assets
  • You haven’t had a DRO in the last 6 years
  • You aren’t currently involved in bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings

Click here to apply for DRO on the government website.


This is the option most people want to avoid, but it is still a viable debt solution for some people. You should always explore other options before filing for bankruptcy, as it can be quite devastating to your finances and your credit score. If you apply for a bankruptcy order, an adjudicator will speak to you and evaluate your situation. They can decide against your bankruptcy and offer other alternatives if there are any. 

Filing for bankruptcy costs £680 at the time of writing. There are various restrictions placed on you when you become bankrupt, most of which stay in place for 12 months, and then they are typically removed and the remaining debt is written off. 

You can learn more about these restrictions and the process of applying for bankruptcy here.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)

IVAs are one of the best options for heavily indebted people, as they can result in 90% of your debts being written off in some instances. IVAs enables you to consolidate all of your debts in one place and pay a single, manageable amount towards the balance once a month. These arrangements can last 5 or 6 years, and at the end of the agreement, the outstanding debt is written off.

As long as you have at least £80 spare each month to contribute to your debts, and meet a few other criteria, you should be able to apply for IVA. Learn more about this debt solution here.