How to get a waiver

In the previous post we talked about Disqualifying Convictions.  Remember that this link is a short list.  If you’ve been convicted of something, you’ll need to check here for the full list of convictions that would prevent you from working as a CNA.

If you need a waiver, you should complete the waiver application and have a finger print criminal history records check requested by IDPH through a contracted live scan vendor.  If you’re not sure what this means, it will be explained to you when IDPH sends you the information after you submit your waiver application.

**IMPORTANT** No other background check will be accepted. After the Department receives the waiver application, they will send you instructions for having your fingerprints collected.

A waiver will not change your criminal record but it will allow an employer to hire you as a direct care worker or an access worker in long-term care or any other facility that has conviction restrictions.

When IDPH receives your waiver application, they consider the following (taken directly from IDPH’s website):

  • Except in the instance of scheduled payment of the court-imposed fines or restitutions, an individual must have met all obligations to the court and the terms of an individual’s parole.
  •    Fines must be paid and parole, probation release successfully completed.
  • Part of the judgment ordered, an individual must have satisfactorily completed a drug and/or alcohol program.
  • The age of an individual at the time of the offense, work history, criminal history in Illinois and other states, the amount of time since an individual’s last conviction, as well as other evidence that  an individual provides are all considered in determining whether a waiver is granted.
  • If an individual has several convictions in recent years or if the offenses were violent crimes they are less likely to have a waiver granted.
  • An individual may have been convicted and not sent to jail, may have been fined, given probation or conditional discharge and it still be considered a conviction. If an individual is unsure whether a n arrest or charge became a conviction, contact the circuit clerk of the county in which the arrest took place.

**IMPORTANT**  A granted waiver stays in effect unless you are convicted of another disqualifying offense, then the waiver is automatically revoked!!  Be aware that if you are listed on the HCWR as an active employee, your employer will be notified that you are not eligible to work as a CNA.  Health care employers are required by law to check the HCWR before they hire you to make sure that you don’t have any disqualifying convictions or administrative findings, so it won’t do you any good to try and hide this information.

A good rule of thumb: Be honest on your application and don’t get yourself into trouble.

– Ashleigh

33 comments on “How to get a waiver

  1. How do you find out, what nursing home will accept a waiver

    • Good question! The Illinois Department of Public Health determines whether or not a waiver is granted for a conviction. Individual nursing homes in IL are all required to check for certain disqualifying convictions for certain job titles. If you have a disqualifying conviction, then no nursing home can hire you for certain job titles without a waiver for that conviction.

      Here’s a link to the list of what counts as a disqualifying conviction: http://www.idph.state.il.us/nar/disconvictions.htm

      Does this help?

      • I have a waiver, but im having problems finding a nursing home that will except the waiver.. Everyone that i have spoken to does not take them

      • Since nursing homes aren’t obligated to “ignore” a conviction if a waiver is granted, they may still choose to not hire someone with certain convictions. Having a waiver only means that the IDPH doesn’t consider that conviction to be a current representation of your behavior and that its unlikely that you pose a risk of repeating that offense as a CNA. My guess is that the conviction you have is one that the facilities you are applying to still considers to be too risky regardless of your waiver status. If you’re a CNA in good standing otherwise on the Health Care Worker Registry, I’d suggest calling them to talk about your situation. 217-785-5133

  2. hi Leslie
    how long did it take you to receive your waiver after you submitted the application?

  3. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health it takes about 6-8 weeks to receive your waiver.

  4. I have awaiver its been 12 years since iv be in trouble .how long do u have to have a waiver on your can lis.

    • Hi Laura,
      Once you have a “disqualifying” offence on your record it stays there permanently. So since you have gotten a waiver for that conviction you will always have that waiver (which only covers that disqualifying offence). Say you got another disqualifying conviction, then you would have to apply for another waiver to cover the new conviction.

      Hope that answered your question! But we always encourage that you call your Department of Public Health with specific questions about your state’s rules and regulations.

  5. Hey My Name Is Cecilia I Was Recently Convicted Of Retail Fraud 2nd Degree Is There Anyway Im Can Get A Waiver In The State Of Mi?

    • Hello Cecilia,

      I was doing some research and the laws are unclear in the state of Michigan. What I would suggest to you, is to call the Department of Public Health and ask them. They will be able to provide you with a waiver application as well.

      In the state of Illinois there is a list provided of disqualifying convictions and it tells you whether or not you are allowed to get a waiver. Retail Fraud is not on that list anywhere, so your best bet would be to give Public Health a call!

      I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Good Luck to you!

  6. hello my name is andre and I work for a hospital an they gave me papers to get on the waiver now they say they want me to stay on at the hospital cus im a good worker but I don’t no how to fill it out or what to say or put in it can you help with this

    • Hello Andre,

      I am sorry that I didn’t get back to you sooner. So what you are saying is you need to get a waiver to stay employed at that Hospital? What state are you from?

      • Im in Illinois and yeah they need for me tomget one of them an what happen
        If ur denied what do u do next

      • Ok. So what I would suggest for you to do is call the Illinois Department of Public Health at 217-785-5133 or go into their office and they can take you step by step through the waiver application. Now if you are denied, you would want to contact them and ask why you were denied and then ask if you can reapply.

      • Ok thank you ill call cus theretomfare to go in but I can call

      • How many time can u apply for a waiver if your denied an can you reply at all

      • That is a question for the Department of Public Health. I tried to call them but could not get through. If I find out I will let you know. In most cases the waiver is granted unless the crime was violent or it was a sex crime. Here is a list of disqualifying convictions and what category they fall under http://www.idph.state.il.us/nar/disconvictions.htm
        also the link to their website with more information on this http://www.idph.state.il.us/nar/

        These are very good questions though Andre, thank you for the inspiration on my next blog post!

  7. my name is Shay brown. I recently applied for a wavier. my conviction was resisting a peace officer. it happened mothers day 2013. I mailed everything in and I saw that it says you may not be granted if your conviction was not in a years time frame. And am 20 it happened while I was 20 but I’ll be 21 Oct. Do you think I will be granted a wavier?

    • to add on its a misdemeanor offense I believe its a disqualifying conviction

    • Hello Shay,

      I have been told numerous times that you have to wait 1 year from the date of your conviction to be eligible for a waiver but I do not know if this rule varies by case.

      I called the Department of Public Health (which is extremely hard to reach anyone) and was given an email address to contact Sally Norris in regard to your application. Since I myself don’t have your application I will pass this information on to you! Her email is sally.norris@illinois.gov.

      You can email her any information you have about your case and application and she should be able to tell you specific details.

      I hope this helps! Good luck!

  8. Hello
    I have come across this and wanted to ask my own question. I am a newly licensed Lpn in illinois with retail theft from 13 yrs ago. My 1st question….why do I have to be on the registry if I am licensed through idfpr? I currently lost a job because idph said I was not eligible to work due to my conviction.

    2nd question…I will be getting this record sealed in the future. When this happens what will happen with my status on the healthcare worker registry? If its sealed they can not hold that against me anymore can they?
    I have a waiver pending currently and it has been six weeks since I submitted it.
    Thanks for your help.

    • Hello T.P,

      You have to be on the Nurse Aide Registry because you are giving direct care to patients. That is why you would need a waiver. The amount of time since you have gotten a conviction does not matter to IDPH. You still would have to get a waiver or have your record expunged.

      It can take 6 to 8 weeks to actually receive your waiver if you are approved.

      Have you tried contacting the Department of Public Health? If not I would highly suggest doing so. They will be able to give you a much more specific answer regarding your background and the registry.

      You can contact them at 217-785-5133 or 217-782-2043

      I hope this helps! Good luck!

  9. i am currently working on my waiver. How detailed do you have to be in describing your offenses? Is the “less is more” approach best, or should i go into specific details? In that, is it my chance to explain myself, or would saying too much be incriminating? Please reply

    • Hello Martin,

      The waiver application asks you to provide the circumstances surrounding each offense (what happened, how many years have passed since the offense, the individuals involved, your age at the time of the offense, and any other circumstances surrounding the offense).

      It sounds to me that they want you to be specific. Since you have already been convicted of the crime you would not be incriminating yourself by giving them details. If you want to be on the safe side you could always call the Department of Public Health and ask them about your specific situation.

      Here is where you can get the Waiver application form for Illinois

      And here is some more information on waivers and convictions

      I hope this has helped answer your question!

  10. is a waiver necessary if your applying for a job as a social worker? PRSC/Casemanager? after reviewing all the sites, it seems that its for cna’s only….
    i applied for a job as a social worker, and the facility asked me to get a waiver for that position, is it needed? was my waiver necessary at all and i went through all this worry for no reason?

    • im going to be honest, in 2011 i was convicted of assault, then 2 weeks later, was convicted again of aggraveted assault/deadly weapon. I briefly explained that it was an argument with an unruly neighbor, aside from myself. Sorry for the language, but do you think im fu*d? I mean, its been 3 years since, ive behaved….

      • i think im screwed, and the waiver was unnecessary. Aside from my convictions, i hold and msw and lpc (that i have to update). Im just a lil scared, my review is tmrw (ive been keeping track), i stuck to the ‘meet and bones’ approach in explaining my charges. Didnt go into the fact that i was an alcohalic and later went to rehab (i didnt keep the paper work). Im freaking out…. i prolly wont get the waiver will i?

      • Hi Martin,

        The best advice I can give you at this point would be to contact the Illinois Department of Public Health regarding your situation. They can be hard to reach but I would try calling 217-782-2043 and see if you can get some answers. Any health care position could require the waiver. Also keep in mind that an employer may not hire you even if a waiver is granted. That is completely up to their discretion.

        Good luck!!

  11. Thank you for the immediate response and your advice.
    one last thing though, if you are denied a waiver, is it possible to re-apply?

    • You’re welcome! If you are denied, make sure you find out why. The reason you are denied will likely tell you if you ever have a chance at getting a waiver if you reapply.

  12. Hello again, So i was denied a waiver and am reapplying. 2 questions come to mind that i would ask at the registry office, but dont know if they’d be appropriate if asked. Based on your experience and knowledge, does the review commitee:
    1) is it the same people on the commitee for each review, or are new peers selected for each review?
    2) is the first/original application and documents disregarded/destroyed or are they retained and can be referenced when considering the reapplication?

    Please advice and thank you so much for your help. sorry for all the questions

    • Hi Martin,

      I am unsure about how the waiver process goes once the Illinois Department of Public Health gets your application. I would direct all of those questions to IDPH so you can get an accurate answer. IDPH legal Department phone number is 217-782-2043.

      Thank you and we are happy to answer any questions you have to the best of our ability. No worries🙂

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