An emotional support animal provides comfort to help relieve a symptom or effect related to a person's disability.Note that being an emotional support animal is not the same as being a service animal (like seeing-eye dogs). These types of animals have stricter criteria that must be met, including different forms of training and ongoing certifications and some breed or animal type restrictions. These animals must also wear identifying garments in some instances, so they can't be confused for an emotional support animal.It's best to check with your local state government agencies to understand the specifics about what is and isn't allowed in your state regarding having an emotional support animal and qualifying ESA Letter. Each state has different guidelines as to what types of public places, for example, you would be able to take your animal with you, such as restaurants, shops, or movie theaters.
The general criteria are to have some emotional or psychological condition that is improved by having an animal that provides support. Conditions may include depression, generalized anxiety, paranoia, insomnia, and others.Only a licensed mental health professional is qualified to determine if you meet the criteria. Through our service, you can speak directly with a qualified mental health professional in the state where you reside.
After speaking with a licensed mental health professional and receiving your own ESA Letter, all you need to do is designate which animal will be your specific emotional support animal. It can be any breed or species, whether an existing pet or a new pet you adopt or rescue. You do not need to go to any specific breeder or place to acquire one.It is important to remember an ESA Letter only covers one animal, so you can't use one letter to cover multiple pets.
Yes. There is research and data that support the theory that animals provide substantial and measurable emotional support. This is why the US Government included provisions for certifications to have an emotional support animal as part of its foundational legislation around housing, travel, and in the ADA. If you're thinking about the benefits of an emotional support animal, you can learn more by researching online or talking to qualified mental health professionals in our network.
Yes. Federal and state laws require a live consultation over the phone, video, or in person to properly vet and qualify an individual to warrant an ESA Letter. Since the letter grants privileges about keeping a pet in a place that otherwise would not allow it, base guidelines must be met to qualify.
An emotional support animal can be any breed or species as long as it supports an emotional or psychological condition. Keep in mind that emotional support animals must still comply with local laws about keeping specific exotic animals. So you cannot designate a bat, alligator, hedgehog, or skunk as an emotional support animal, for example, as these (among other species) are illegal to own in any capacity within the United States.
The Fair Housing Act requires housing providers such as landlords or management companies to obligatorily allow the possession of animals that work, provide assistance for, or perform tasks that benefit individuals with qualified medical disabilities – or that provide emotional support to individuals to reduce a symptom or effect of a disability.The Fair Housing Act also requires individuals who wish to possess a service or support animal to follow specific criteria relevant to the type of support needed. For an emotional support animal, the individual has to speak with a licensed mental health professional in the state they reside and receive a prescription of an ESA Letter in order to qualify.
Once you have a proper ESA Letter, your landlord is required by the Fair Housing Act to allow you to keep your designated emotional support animal with you at your place of residence. Suppose they have additional questions about a letter you received through our service – in that case, you can refer them to speak to someone from our team or the licensed mental health professional whose contact info is listed on your individual letter.
Unfortunately, yes. We've come across a number of fraudulent sites that claim to offer ESA Letters, but whose letters are not certified, nor comply with US federal and state laws.The most common type of fraud we've seen are in particular sites that claim to certify service animals (different from emotional support animals) without requiring any formal testing or accreditation typical for that process. The US has cracked down on these forms of fraud. Now they will enact hefty fines – or even jail time – for caught offenders.These are the clues you should be on the lookout for to spot a scam:1) The company lacks a physical address – A large number of the fraudulent websites are actually based in China. Make sure to check for a valid address in the United States.2) The website domain name owner is hidden behind a proxy – Proper services should have transparent domain name ownership. The tool WHOis.com is great for verifying the identity of whoever is operating behind the scenes.3) The service does NOT require you to speak with someone live over the phone – All legitimate ESA Letter providers are required by law to ensure that you speak with a licensed mental health professional over the phone or video. If a service asks you to answer questions using a quiz or "exam" but don't ask you to schedule a live consultation after, it is probably a scam.4) There is no contact number for the company where you can speak to someone over the phone – Similar to not having an address, having no direct phone line at all on the website may indicate a service is fraudulent.5) There is no support offered after you receive your letter – Most legitimate services offer at least a baseline level of support after you receive a letter from them. This could be to field questions from a landlord or to have a follow on conversation with the mental health professional you spoke with about how it's going with your emotional support animal.
Vetted, licensed therapists near you – Our network of mental health professionals are licensed to practice in your state and are current on state-mandated standards where they operate. The therapist we connect you with will be located in the state where you live and be fully qualified to prescribe you an ESA Letter should you meet the criteria.Live consultation over the phone – The licensed mental health professional we connect you with will reach out to you for a phone consultation and establish a therapeutic relationship. This grants the mental health professional the legal and medical authority to prescribe you an ESA Letter through us.Fully compliant ESA Letters – If you are prescribed an ESA Letter, it will be issued directly from the licensed mental health professional you speak with and contain their license number and direct contact information. The letter will come on their official letterhead and contain all other required elements within the letter's body.
An ESA Letter allows you to possess an emotional support animal of your choosing within any housing you decide to live, regardless of if pets are permitted by the landlord or management company. If a landlord questions this, you can point them to the Fair Housing Act, which lays this out explicitly. If you have an ESA Letter from us, they cannot deny you having an emotional support animal.Also, some travel organizations allow you to bring an emotional support animal with you if you have proper documentation. This includes some airlines, though please check with any organization you travel with in advance, so there are no surprises on the day of travel.
Your health matters to us – We're a team of pet lovers and licensed mental health professionals. Caring about your health and your pet's well-being is our number one focus and priority. Certified & compliant ESA Letters – We've done the heavy lifting of making sure our operations are legally compliant with federal and state laws where we operate.Ongoing support – While most landlords are familiar with the terms of the Fair Housing Act and what that means for individuals who have certified ESA Letters, we're here to answer any questions and support you, whatever the need. Any questions or concerns, simply reach out – we have you covered.
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