For those who are seeking work-related hardship licenses, the Massachusetts Registry’s work letter requirement applies to those who are self-employed as well as those who work for others. The letter must explain your work hours and need to drive. It must also address how public transportation will not satisfy your work-related needs.
In addition to the requirement that the self-employed hardship license applicant write his or her own work letter, which cannot be dated more than 30 days from the hardship license hearing, the Registry of Motor Vehicles and Board of Appeal require that self-employed hardship license applicants provide third party documentation to substantiate the person’s self-employment. This requirement was likely enacted because individuals who were actually unemployed falsely claimed that they were self-employed, in order to obtain hardship licenses.
Along with the work letter, self-employment applicants must substantiate their self-employed status by submitting a recent business certificate, a current “Schedule C” self-employment tax form, or a copy of a valid professional license such as an electrician, plumber, or construction supervisor’s license. These documents should accompany your work letter and the information contained therein should coincide with the information which you provide in your hardship license letter.
To demonstrate that public transportation will not meet your needs, you can also include printouts from Google Maps or Mapquest along with MBTA or other public transportation schedules, which show that you need to drive because you cannot rely on public transportation.
Providing the required documentary evidence regarding self-employment may prevent you from being denied a hardship license by the Registry and having to appeal the denial to the Board of Appeal, where legal representation is strongly recommended. However, please remember that proof of self-employment is only one part of any hardship license appeal, whether the case is heard at the Registry or the Division of Insurance Board of Appeal. As part of any hardship license hearing, the MassDOT hearings officer and/or Board of Appeal will also assess your risk of relapse or recidivism, as evidenced by your criminal record, driving history, alcohol treatment records, program completion certificates, substance abuse dependency evaluations, and a variety of other sources of information. Contact a lawyer for more information regarding Massachusetts Hardship License Appeals.