Many studies have been conducted on the role of pets in the lives of their owners or handlers. For instance, from research published in the BMC Psychiatry journal, pets play an important therapeutic role when it comes to the mental health of their owners. But the extent, nature, and quality of emotional support provided by these animals may differ.
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Are you worried that you would have to leave your pet behind when you travel? Well, according to the law, emotional support animals, ESAs, are not house pets. You can travel or stay with them wherever you are. However, to unlock these benefits, you would need an emotional support animal letter.
Once the connection develops between the pet and the owner, then the subject starts to experience comfort, fewer effects of anxiety, and in some cases, quicker recovery. An emotional support animal can even help lower your stress levels, blood pressure` and also help you cope with a history of emotional trauma.
Table of Contents
What Is an ESA letter?
This letter also approves of the need of a subject to have a pet after being diagnosed with a mental health disorder. In the letter, you can find the reason why the person bearing it needs an ESA to live a full life or minimize some of the symptoms of a mental health condition.
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How Does the ESA Letter Help?
Some landlords designate their residential properties as ‘pet-free’. However, with an emotional animal support letter, you can live with your pet, as the law demands these landlords accommodate your ESA. Also, the letter allows you to travel with your pet in the passenger’s cabin.
And the good news is that the ESA handler does not have to pay extra fees for the airlines or housing access.
What Does an ESA Letter Need to Say?
As previously stated, the ESA letter needs to come from a licensed mental health professional. Once they diagnose an individual’s mental health condition, they can then recommend an emotional support animal. And at first glance, you can tell what the letter addresses.
The letter should include the following:
- A date, not later than one year of submission
- Your therapist’s official letterhead
- The therapist’s license number, date, and the direct contact information for your therapist
Remember that a certificate of ownership may not be sufficient when you do not have an ESA letter.
An Emotional Support Animal Letter Sample
It is very easy to fall into the trap of con men pretending to offer these letters. However, if you have a rough idea of how the letter looks like, you have a better chance of avoiding a scam.
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And an emotional support animal letter sample is provided below:
Licensed Mental Health Professional’s Letterhead
Doctor (or LMHP) Name
To Whom It May Concern;
I am a licensed mental health professional and (YOUR NAME) is my patient, and is, and has been under my professional care since (DATE). I am familiar with the mental-related issues that (the patient’s first name) is facing. And since they limit him/her in coping with what is considered normal, I have prescribed an emotional support animal in (patient’s first name)’s life. The emotional support animal provides relief that is not available in traditional medication.
According to the DSM-V of the Diagnostics and the Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, (YOUR NAME) exhibits mental health challenges that fit the criteria for Americans Living with Disability (ADA). Therefore, he/she qualifies for an emotional support animal. Please allow (YOUR NAME) to be accompanied by his/her emotional support animal in the passenger cabin in the aircraft, in accordance with the Air Carrier Access Act (49 USC 41705 and 14 CFR 382) and in the apartment, according to the Fair Housing Act (FHA).
If you have any further questions, contact me at (email address of the LMHP)
Certification ID number:
Signature of the Professional
Name of the Professional
Licensed by the state of (STATE)
Date of Issuance:
How Do You Spot a Fake ESA Letter?
You can get an emotional support animal letter online. However, many websites are using this opportunity to publish false advertisements. They promise lower prices, only for you to find out that the letter is fake.
The good news is that you can easily distinguish a real and valid letter from a fake one. All you need to do is to follow the steps outlined below to avoid a scam.
Doing a little bit of research on the doctor, website, or clinic offering their services online could go a long way in saving you from a scam. Check whether the medical health professionals have the appropriate and valid license.
2. Check the license
Finding out whether someone is licensed to write you an ESA letter is simple. For instance, The Talk Space Voice has given guidelines on how to verify the license of your therapist.
3. Check their Credentials
A legitimate emotional support animal letter contains some necessary credentials that are absent in a fake letter. These details include:
- The official letterhead
- Type of emotional support animal
- Name of the animal
- Certificate ID number of the animal to be registered.
4. Payment Method
Ever visited a website and a red alert showed you that the website was insecure? Well, this is a helpful tool when it comes to determining the safety of the payment method used by these service providers. When you visit a professional’s payment website:
- The address link should have an ‘HTTP’ address with a padlock on it
- The word ‘Secure’ shows that the link is safe
- The padlock should be green in color to prove it is safe for an online payment
If the payment profile fails to meet any of the three conditions mentioned above, it is unsafe and could be a fraudulent website.
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Laws That Protect Emotional Support Animal Owners
1. Fair Housing Act
Under this act, landlords must provide reasonable accommodations to tenants who own emotional support animals. And according to this law, ESAs are not ordinary pets. Therefore, even buildings with ‘NO PET’ policy must comply with the US Department of Housing’s guidelines to accommodate ESA owners.
The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants who need emotional support animals in their lives. Also, the law states that no extra charges should be imposed on the tenants owning ESAs.
2. Air Carrier Access Act
Under the ACAA, owners of emotional support animals can travel with their pets in the passenger’s cabin at no extra cost. The ACA Act grants people living with a disability the right to travel in the company of their emotional support animals.
Once you provide the airline personnel with necessary documents proving why you need emotional support or psychiatric service animal, then you can travel with your ESA in your cabin for no extra fees. The ACAA prohibits airline operators from discriminating against passengers with mental or physical health challenges.
Benefits of Getting an Emotional Support Animal Letter
Mental health challenges are as tough as they come. And mostly, patients have to endure the pain, stress, depression, anxiety, and PTSD that come with these health problems.
If getting an emotional support animal can help you calm your thoughts and cope with the symptoms, then you should get yourself an emotional support animal letter from a licensed mental health professional. Some of the benefits you can enjoy from getting the letter include:
1. Better traveling experience
Your emotional support animal letter allows you to board airplanes and travel with your pet in your cabin for no extra cost. As stipulated in the Air Carrier Access Act, you should call the airline company you plan to travel with at least 48 hours beforehand to inform them of your situation.
At the airport, you should also provide the airline authorities with legal documents approving your ownership of the ESA. Some of these documents include:
- US Department of Transportation Service Animal Air Transportation Health Form
- A US Department of Transportation Service Animal Relief Attestation
- US Department of Transportation Service Animals Air Transport Behavior and Training Attestation Form
- Medical professional’s authorization containing their license number, the signature, the date, type of mental health professional license they hold, and the state or jurisdiction in which they operate
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2. Rent a house freely
According to the FHA, any person holding an emotional support animal letter should not have to pay extra to stay with a pet. Therefore, you can choose the housing of your choice without any fear of discrimination.
And if the house has a No-Pet policy, the landlord should arrange to accommodate your emotional support animal. However, you need to show your letter of recommendation from a licensed mental health professional to the apartment management.
3. Have a better shopping experience
Many supermarkets prohibit pets in their stores. However, an emotional support animal is no ordinary pet. And once you have a letter showing why you need the ESA, you can say goodbye to the anxiety and panic that stops you from shopping in your favorite store.
The emotional support animal helps you cope with your fears in these public outlets, making your shopping experience better. And although the law states no discrimination whatsoever, it is always good to call ahead and ask for approval from the owners before taking your pet along.
4. No more loneliness
People struggling with mental health conditions find it hard to create personal connections. Whether it’s due to anxiety, depression, or panic attacks, you could end up feeling lonely. And when you have to be in a public space, the symptoms could worsen.
However, by acquiring an emotional support animal letter from your legally registered and licensed therapist, you can say goodbye to the loneliness.
The letter allows you to go anywhere with your emotional support animals, which are great companions.
5. A healthy mind
Feeling alone and not being able to cope with the symptom of a mental health disorder can be dangerous for the mind.
However, with research proving the impact of pets on these patients, an emotional support animal could be the light in the dark for stressed and depressed people.
Once you have an ESA in your treatment plan, you can better manage your symptoms, which gives you a sense of control over your mental health.
They give you support, comfort, and intimacy, which promote a more active, healthier, and productive life. And at the end of it all, you get a healthier mind free from all the burden of depression, anxiety, and stress.
An emotional support animal is a type of assistance animal deemed necessary for people facing a mental or physical disability. And according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, under the federal Fair Housing Act, the emotional support animal is no ordinary pet.
The government, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Transportation, has put in place laws to help protect these people from discrimination.
However, to gain access to these privileges, you need to show that you are authorized to own an ESA.
Any legally licensed mental health professional can provide you with an emotional support animal letter.
But, with the internet availing access to people of all kinds, it is possible to fall into a trap. You find people pretending to be licensed professionals offering these letters at lower prices. Take a cautious approach to such websites and do some research to avoid a scam.
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Learn to spot the differences between a legit and fake ESA letter. As shown in the emotional support animal letter sample provided in this piece, make sure you can quickly tell the license number, type of license, the issuance and expiry dates of the license, the professional’s letterhead, and the ID number of the ESA to be registered.
Remember to check the safety of the website before filling in your details. Finally, an ESA letter only lasts for a year. Remember to renew your letter to avoid inconveniences at your residency or the airport.
Hopefully, you got a good look at the Emotional Support Animal Letter Sample, now read reviews of authentic ESA Letter providers and make the best choice.
Wanna get an ESA? Don’t forget to read reviews about authentic ESA letter providers.