It took a couple of years, but the Texas Department of Public Safety finally implemented an amnesty program, which was set out in a press release issued on September 11, 2013. An indigency program was recently rolled out, which covers people who's income is 125% or less than the federal poverty level. This new program covers those who's incomes are more than 125% and less than 300% of the federal poverty level.
For qualifying individuals the surcharges will be decreased by 50%, plus service fees. It will also remove surcharege suspensions for six months. The new amount must be paid within six months to avoid a new suspension.
While it's not perfect - that would be abolishing the surcharge program altogether - this is a good start. While $500 is still a significant amont of money, it's certainly better than $1,000. If you pay that out over the six months, that comes to about $85 a month.
Another important part of the new program is that one application will take care of both programs. So if you apply for the indigence program and don't qualify, you will automatically be considered for the amnesty program.
The rules are now in place, so there's no reason to not take advantage of them. If you need additional information go to the DPS website, or talk to a lawyer who is familiar with the rules and the process.