A person qualifies for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities when he/she has been convicted of not more than 1 felony and any number of misdemeanors. The term “disability” means laws disqualifying a person from holding certain rights of jobs as they are convicted.
When a person is criminally convicted, it can restrict several job options. Certain other basic rights can be also limited such as holding public office or the right of possessing a firearm. In the state of New York, for example, the criminal records of adults can be sealed after ten years and are the same as an expungement. However, there are several such crimes, which deny a person’s record to be sealed.
Luckily though, people have a choice, which can assist in opening doors, which may be unavailable if they are criminally convicted. A Certificate of Relief from Disabilities is one such privilege.
What is a certificate of relief from disabilities?
A correctional facility may issue this certificate after the release of an eligible person. It is a document, which can help a convicted person to get housing, employment, and various other benefits.
Thus, the certificate can remove any kind of disability imposed or compulsory legal bar due to crimes mentioned in the disabilities certificate or for being convicted of a criminal offense. However, the certificate of relief will not enable the eligible person to become qualified for or retain public office.
When is it required?
The document is required when a criminally convicted person wants to obtain various benefits such as housing and employment.
The state of New York, however, restricts people with certain convictions to get specific licenses or work in certain jobs. Examples of such jobs include that of security guards. They may be prohibited to possess firearms or guns as well.
However, a certificate can do away with a majority of such automatic ineligibilities. Licensing agencies and employers in such cases may consider the applications and reserve the right to reject them. Many employers in the state of New Work must check the proof before rejecting a license or a job because the applicant is convicted.
Meanwhile, if an individual has the certificate of relief from disabilities, licensing agencies and employers should assume that he/she is rehabilitated. They should do so unless there are major proofs that the applicant has not changed positively. It is imperative to note that a certificate is not an expungement. They are also not pardons.
Candidates should note if mandatory legal bars are removed as a result of this certificate, they get the right to be considered/apply for a license or employment. There is no assurance though that their license or employment is certain.
When the document is issued after the convicted person is released or is under the supervision of the community, it is considered to be a temporary certificate. It becomes a permanent certificate if the parolee has been discharged from supervision.
A person becomes eligible for this certificate in New York only when they have a maximum of 1 felony conviction against them. In case a person is on parole, he/she is only qualified when the parole started a minimum of 6 months ago except under special circumstances. According to the state laws, an individual can only apply for the certificate of relief from disabilities when he/she has been:
1. Convicted for a maximum of 1 felony while there could be any number of misdemeanors
2. Is under parole supervision when the supervising Parole Officer recommends or a correctional facility has released him/her
Contrary to a Certificate of Good Conduct, the document does not have any waiting period. It can be issued as soon as the person is released or under the supervision of parole.
As this certificate is a temporary one while a person is under supervision, the Department of Corrections can revoke it if it considers so.
In case an individual wants to apply for this certificate, they can consult their parole officer. Alternatively, they may also discuss the issue with an attorney who has experience in this field. In a majority of cases, it is the sentencing court that issues the certificate of relief.
In Illinois, a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities can assist the applicant to procure a license requires for specific kinds of jobs. For instance, these licenses are required for positions like an athletic trainer, a professional boxer, a shorthand reporter, a family, and a marriage therapist. Other professionals such as a funeral director, a cosmetologist, a nail technician, and a barber may also require such a license for a convicted person.
An individual is qualified to apply for relief if he or she has not been convicted for any of the offenses mentioned below:
· Aggravated Domestic Battery
· DUI or Aggravated Driving Under the Influence
· Aggravated kidnapping or kidnapping
· Aggravated Arson or arson
· Any kind of attempted crime or crime that requires a person to register themselves with
- The Sex Offender Registration Act
- The Arsonists Registration Act,
- The Murderer & Violent Offender Against Youth Registration Act.
A person may file for the Certificate of Relief at any time after the pronouncement of his/her sentence.
Tips for writing an effective letter or certificate
Some of the major tips are as follows:
1. A separate application should be filed for each conviction for which the person wishes to have a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities.
2. Make sure that you provide proof of your good character and accomplishments so that the possibilities of receiving the certificate are more. For instance, you can submit a letter of your own. Explain the details of the crime/offense you are convicted under, the positive life choices you made after committing the offense, your remorse for committing the offense, and so on.
Positive life choices can be related to your work history and active participation in multiple treatment programs. It can be also your religious activities, serving the community, and taking care of your family members.
3. If possible, submit letters where community members, religious officials, teachers, employers, friends, or family have recommended you positively. They are also evidence of you attending counseling, job training, school, and so on. Also, submit any other documentation that proves your good character and accomplishments.
4. Make sure all the information you mention is true and correct to the best of your knowledge or your application can be rejected on grounds of falsification.
Samples of Certificate of Relief from Disabilities
<City, State, Zip Code>
Please find this Certificate of Relief from Disability in response to your request made to us recently. You are requested to return the original completed application form ensuring that all signatures have been notarized to the <Unit Name> at the address mentioned above.
You must submit the evidence of your income tax return for the last 3 years along with the original application. You should not send the originals as we will not return them but the copies of your income tax returns made to the federal government. You should also send us the W-2 Forms (statement of wages), as well as, copies of Form 1099 (all Miscellaneous I income). Please contact IRS at <Contact Number> in case you do not have the original copies. They will give you all the required documents upon request. In case you have got Social Security or Public Assistance for all or any of these 3-year periods, provide a copy of the printout for all such benefits received. The department can help you with procuring the copy.
You may have to be fingerprinted in case you were convicted of a felony in a federal court or any state apart from New York. We will notify you by mail if the same applies to you.
It is required to investigate your particular circumstances and can include although may not be restricted to the following:
1. Evidence of payment of any restitution of fine
2. Evidence of income tax payment for the last 3 years
3. Means of support and employment history
After we get all the necessary records and documents from you, a field representative will get in touch with you. He/she will coordinate for an interview at your home to verify your present circumstances and clarify queries if any. The <Department Name> will then proceed with the evaluation of your application to assess whether you are eligible for getting the Certificate of Relief from Disabilities or not. The statute allows the <Department Name> to remove all or one allowable disability.
The process is a lengthy one and so we will appreciate your cooperation.
In case you change or move your telephone number during this process, get in touch with the office at the earliest.
In case you wish to get the privilege of possessing firearms restored but the Federal Court convicted you of a felony, the <Bureau Name> should approve of the right of possessing firearms.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION (Detach and maintain in your records)
Please note that even if the Certificate of Relief from Disabilities is granted, it does not mean that your underlying conviction has been removed. The certificate also does not limit a licensing agency or a prospective employer from exercising legal discretion for refusing employment. They may also deny renewing or granting any privilege, permit, or license.
The information mentioned below is to guide you to determine the authority and your eligibility to which you should apply.
The CERTIFICATE OF RELIEF FROM DISABILITIES: Eligible offenders are those who have been convicted of a maximum of 1 felony or any number of misdemeanors.
II. Who you should apply to/Issuing Authority
A. CERTIFICATE OF RELIEF FROM DISABILITIES
The issuing court is the sentencing court in all cases except where there is a conviction
1. Purpose for the Certificate of relief from disabilities____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Last First Middle Jr./Sr.
3. Date of Birth_____________________________________________________
4. Birth of Place_____________________________________________________
5. Gender: Male [ ] Female [ ]
6. Race: Chinese [ ], Japanese [ ], Hispanic [ ] Caucasian [ ] Native American [ ], American/African [ ]
9. Hair Color
10. Eye Color
11. Social Security Number_________________. __________.______________
12. Are you referred to by any other name? If yes, mention it below along with the reason (s) for changing that name
Reason for Change____________________________________________________________
13. Current Address:_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
14. List the names of all the household members for your current address
Name: Age: Relationship
15. List all those earlier addresses in the last 5 years
RECORD OF EMPLOYMENT
16. Mention the names of your employers and occupations for the last five years or from the time since you left your school. Your latest employment history should be mentioned at the top and then work back. Also, give dates of the period (s) when you were unemployed:
17. Are you an American citizen? (Tick one)
[ ] By naturalization, Certificate No____________________ [ ] Yes, by birth
Provide Alien Registration Number______________ Country _________ if not a citizen
19. Marital Status: Married [ ], Single [ ], Divorced [ ], Separated [ ], Annulled [ ], Widow (er) [ ]
20. Mention the number of times you have been married _____. For each marriage state the following:
Name Used: Husbands Full Name or Date married/Divorced Wife’s Maiden Name
21. Your present spouse’s address______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
22. Number of children you have_____________________. Give their information
Currently lives with:
23. If known: FBI#______ NYSID#____________PRISON#___________
24. RECORD OF ALL CONVICTIONS: Please list all your convictions. If there is any willful omission, it will be regarded as a falsification. Please depend on your own information. In case of any uncertainty, a statement mentioning so can do away with rejection based on falsification.
Date Location and court Charge Sentence
25. In case you have applied for a Certificate of Relief from Disability earlier, mention the following details:
26. I agree for an investigation to be conducted to determine whether I am eligible to be granted the certificate or not. I also certify that all my responses in this letter are correct and truthful.
Applicant’s Signature_____________________ Date___________________
27. State Name_______________________
_______________ has sworn that he/she is the applicant whose name has been mentioned in the application. He/she has read the application properly and the content is true to his/her knowledge.
Sample-2- Request for a certificate for employment
This is to bring to your notice that I have been released from the correctional facility <Correctional Facility Name> at <Correctional Facility Address>. I have been also discharged from the supervision and not under parole anymore.
As I would like to apply for jobs and start my life afresh, I would request you to kindly grant me a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities at the earliest.
Here are the details of the charges and the sentence below:
Date of Release Location and court Charge Sentence Sentence Period
I would be highly obliged if you can grant my request and issue the certificate. You may contact me at my contact number <Tel Number> or <Email ID>.
<Signature of Applicant>
<Name of Applicant>
Sample 3 –Request for repossession of house rent
I would request you to kindly grant me a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities as I am looking for a house to rent soon. I would also like to bring this to your notice that I served a sentence from <Start Date> to <End Date> for having committed a felony <felony description>.
The issuing court of my sentence was _______________. However, I have completed my sentence now and have also been released from the <Correctional Facility Name> at <Correctional Facility Address>.
I am looking forward to a quick revert from you on this.
<Applicant Contact Number>