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Get Help Paying for Your Drivers License

Get Help Paying for Your Drivers License

The cost of obtaining a drivers license or having a license reinstated can be a huge obstacle if you need to drive to work or school. Help paying for drivers license fees can be hard to find, but there are some resources available, depending on where you live. Low Income Relief has information about how to find help paying for drivers license fees near you. 

Get help paying for a drivers license in your state.

For people who are ready to renew their old drivers license or apply for their first one, it can be expensive! Finding help to pay for drivers license fees can be hard to come by. 

However, there is some help paying for drivers license fees available, depending on which state you live in and what your life circumstances are. 

One of the best ways to learn how to get help paying for drivers license fees where you live is to contact United Way. United Way can help connect you with local resources no matter where you live, you can call them just by dialing 211 or visiting their website.

While the United Way might be able to connect you with organizations that can help you pay the fees associated with a drivers license application or renewal, you can also check with your state or locality to find out if you are eligible for a discount or waiver on your drivers license due to your income, housing status, veteran status, or another reason.  

For example, individuals who are leaving prison or who declare themselves homeless can have drivers license fees waived in the State of Nevada.

In Texas, some veterans are eligible for a free drivers license. 

For information specific to you and your state, check with your local DMV. 

woman driving pickup truck in article on help paying for drivers license

Get help paying for driver license reinstatement.

In recent years, there has been a movement to stop suspending drivers licenses due to unpaid traffic fines and certain legal violations. These laws disproportionately impact people with low incomes, and make it more difficult to do basic things like drive to work and school. 

A bill called the Driving for Opportunity Act, sponsored by Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, has been making its way through Congress, but has not yet become law. If this bill became a law, it would: 

“make grants to states that do not suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew a driver’s license of an individual based on such individual’s failure to pay a civil or criminal fine or fee.”

In other words, it would make it beneficial for states to stop revoking the drivers licenses of low income people who have been unable to pay fines. 

Some states, like Ohio and New York have begun implementing similar programs on their own. The State of Ohio’s Driver’s License Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program helps reinstate licenses for drivers who have unpaid traffic fees or other minor offenses that do not involve drugs, alcohol, or deadly weapons. 

The State of New York’s Driver’s License Suspension Reform Act ended license suspensions due to non-payment of traffic fines, and also made affordable payment plans available to those who incur fines going forward. 

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Other ways to get help paying for driver license

If help paying for drivers license fees is not available near you, then there are a few other options. 

First, some cities and states have one time cash assistance available for people with low incomes. For example, this program in New York City provides cash assistance to individuals in need. Try searching “one time cash assistance” and your city or state’s name to find out if a similar program is available near you. 

Finally, Mutual Aid is a great way to connect with your neighbors and help get your needs met. Mutual Aid organizations are simply neighbors helping neighbors. Mutual Aid is not charity, but rather a system of connecting community members who can help one another in various ways. If you need some help paying drivers license fees, try tapping into your local Mutual Aid network

Help paying for drivers license fees can be hard to come by, but we hope Low Income Relief’s suggestions make the job easier!

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Catherine Hall, LMSW is a therapist at a small group practice in New York City. She earned her master of social work degree at New York University.

Julianne Combs

Tuesday 6th of September 2022

Any programs in Oregon ?

Catherine Marucci

Wednesday 7th of September 2022

Hi Julianne. The United Way has offices in Oregon so they may be a good resource to ask.