There are a lot of companies out there that advertise quick and easy online emotional support animal letters. But are online ESA letters legitimate?
Are Online ESA Letters Legitimate?
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Are Online ESA Letters Legitimate?
Online ESA letters can be legitimate, but it's crucial to be cautious. To ensure authenticity, verify the source's credibility, check for a licensed mental health professional's involvement, and review their compliance with legal requirements, such as HIPAA and state regulations. Always prioritize your and your pet's well-being.
What is an ESA Letter?
An emotional support animal letter, often referred to as an ESA letter, is a legal form that documents an individual has a qualifying disability and requires an emotional support animal. It’s similar to a prescription in that it states an ESA is necessary for managing an individual’s mental health condition.
What Makes an ESA Letter Legitimate?
In order for an ESA letter to be legitimate, it must meet a few criteria. It has to be on official letterhead from the practice of the mental health care provider writing the letter, the practice address, and the provider’s license number. ESA letters must also specify a diagnosis for a mental health condition or disability that qualifies for an emotional support animal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
ESA Letter Legal Requirements
Emotional support animal letters may be legally required in certain situations in order to protect your rights to an ESA when it comes to housing, transportation, and employment.
The Fair Housing Act (FHA)
While emotional support animals aren’t always granted the same public access rights as service animals, they are protected under federal ESA and service animal laws when it comes to housing under the Fair Housing Act (FHA). These laws exist to prevent discrimination against individuals for housing on the basis of race, religion, orientation, gender identity, or disability.
Individuals with disabilities or mental health conditions who use an emotional support animal have the legal right to live with their ESA in housing that doesn’t typically allow pets, has restrictive pet policies that prohibit certain breeds or sizes, and is exempt from pet fees in rental housing.
State-Specific ESA Letter Requirements
While federal laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA) serve to protect the rights of individuals who use an emotional support animal across the country, there are some states that have their own ESA laws like California and Montana.
Under California law, AB 468 requires anyone receiving an emotional support animal letter to receive documentation acknowledging that an ESA is not the same as a service animal. It also requires businesses that sell ID cards, vests, and harnesses to provide the same information to consumers.
This California law also requires licensed mental health professionals (LMHPs) to provide certain information when providing emotional support animal letters, including their license number, license type, jurisdiction, and the effective date.
In both California under AB 468 and Montana under HB 703, licensed mental health professionals providing emotional support animal letters must also establish a minimum of a 30-day relationship with clients, and during that time conduct an individual evaluation to determine a diagnosis and the person’s need for an emotional support animal.
Can You Get a Legitimate ESA Letter Online?
Yes, you can get a legitimate ESA letter online! There are excellent professional agencies out there like Pettable that can provide legal, legitimate ESA letters that are guaranteed to meet your needs.
What's on a Legitimate ESA Letter?
A legitimate emotional support animal letter should include all of the following:
- Official letterhead of the practice of your health professional
- License number of the mental health professional providing the ESA letter
- Your name
- A statement of a qualifying diagnosis
- The health professional’s recommendation of your need for an ESA
While an ESA letter needs to contain this information, it doesn’t need to include specifics about your diagnosis or about the ways your emotional support animal assists you.
What Makes Pettable ESA Letters Legitimate?
Pettable is the top provider of legitimate online ESA letters, working with mental health professionals and individuals who need an emotional support animal and supporting documentation all over the United States.
Our ESA Letters Are Written by Real Clinicians in Your State
Pettable works with a wide network of clinicians and healthcare professionals in all 50 states, meaning we can guarantee our ability to match you with a provider in your area who knows both the federal and local state requirements for providing you with a legal, legitimate ESA letter.
We Require a Verbal Mental Health Consultation
Unlike illegitimate companies that promise to fast-track ESA letters, Pettable takes the time to ensure every individual seeking our services has a verbal or video consultation with a licensed mental health professional. Our clinicians are paid per consultation — not per approval — so there’s no incentive to approve or deny you other than legitimate need.
Our Clinicians Have Complete Discretion
Working within federal and state laws and the required information for ESA letters, Pettable's team of qualified clinicians are professional and discrete when it comes to your records, and will only provide the information legally required of them to make sure your ESA letter is legal, legitimate, and recognized by landlords for housing and in any other instance you may need.
We Follow Federal and State Regulations
Pettable’s network of providers in every state means our team includes professionals who are not only up-to-date and experienced at working with federal regulations for emotional support animals and providing ESA letters but who are also familiar with individual laws in every state. No matter where you live in the U.S., Pettable can match you with a provider who can get you on your way to a legitimate ESA letter.
Signs of an Illegitimate ESA Provider
When searching for an ESA provider, be on the lookout for these telltale signs an agency may be an illegitimate provider of ESA letters.
No Verbal Consultation with a Clinician
An agency that doesn’t require individuals to consult with a licensed health professional or other licensed clinician is a red flag for ESA providers. Taking the time to assess individual needs and ensure a qualifying disability is present is essential for quality care.
“Instant” ESA Letter Approval
Instant approvals for an ESA letter after answering only a few questions are almost always a scam. For an ESA letter to be legitimate individuals must consult with a health professional directly, which can’t be done “instantly".
Offers an ESA “Registry”
Providers offering an ESA “registry” are also almost always a scam. There is no legally recognized registry for service animals or emotional support animals in the U.S. Charging for “registration” of an assistance animal is a scam.
Provides ID Badges or ESA “Certificates”
Agencies that promise to provide ID badges or ESA “certificates” are not providing legitimate ESA documentation. The only legal paperwork that can certify an emotional support animal is an ESA letter provided by a licensed health professional and containing all the required information.
How to Get a Legitimate ESA Letter with Pettable
Getting a legitimate ESA letter from Pettable is simple, affordable, and legitimate with our guaranteed process.
Complete Our Online Assessment
Start by completing Pettable’s brief assessment to determine your specific needs and get matched with a licensed healthcare provider in your state. The assessment generally only takes about 3 minutes!
Attend Your Consultation with a Licensed Clinician
Once we’ve matched you with the right provider, you’ll attend a consultation via video or phone to reach your diagnosis and be sure your disability qualifies for an emotional support animal.
Receive Your ESA Letter
After the required number of consultations depending on your state, your clinician will provide you with a legal, legitimate ESA letter! Pettable’s experts work together to ensure your needs are met and your ESA letter contains all the required information to work for you. Get started with Pettable today!