With high profile stories coming out every other week, interest in the use of emotional support animals (ESAs) as a form of therapy is at an all time high. But like anything that becomes popular, there will always be someone around the corner looking to monopolize on the trend – often by unscrupulous means.
Now this fact shouldn’t scare anyone off the prospect of obtaining an ESA for either yourself or a loved one; it simply means that greater attention to detail is required when choosing who you wish to process your application with.
This article will aim to outline the proper process of applying for an emotional support animal letter and reveal what the letter should legally contain in order to be considered valid.
Applying For An ESA Letter
To apply for an ESA letter, you’ll need a recommendation from a licensed physician stating that you suffer some form of physical, psychological or mental condition that would be improved with access to an emotional support animal. Any mental health professional can do this, be it online or in person.
However, if it is online, then it’s incredibly important that you can verify that your chosen physician is who they say they are. They need to provide proof of their up-to-date medical license and show that they are licensed in the same state as the patient wishing to receive the ESA letter.
What Your ESA Letter Must Contain to Be Considered Valid
If your ESA letter contains all of the things below, then you can be comfortable knowing that your emotional support animal is fully registered, and that your rights as an ESA owner will be upheld in the eyes of the law.
A legitimate ESA letter must:
- Prove that the mental health professional of choice is licensed in the same state of the patient wishing to receive an ESA letter resides.
- Have the issue and expiration dates of the mental health professional’s license.
- Be written on a doctor’s professional letterhead and have verifiable contact information of the physician in question.
- Require renewal on an annual basis and it must contain the issue date of the letter and an expiration date that is no longer than one year from its original issuance.
- Contain the registered emotional support animal’s details such as: what kind of animal it is, the name of animal in question and the animal’s ESA certificate ID number.
However, prior to applying for your letter, if you’re at all unsure about your chosen provider, then make sure you ask for proof of their legitimacy before purchasing. This will include evidence of the physician’s medical license (along with its expiration date), a copy of a sample ESA letter that you would receive upon purchase (similar to the one at the top of this article) and finally (if paying online), the payment page should have a padlock, the word “secure” and the https should all be green – to signify that your bank details will be secure from hackers.
If you follow these simple rules, then even the most savvy of frauds will not be able to pull one over on you!