In recent years, there has been an increase in emotional support animals being certified in order to help their owners cope with a variety of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and phobias. Emotional support animals provide the comfort and reassurance that is sometimes required for people to be able to leave their homes and function more comfortably within society. For many people, the relief of finding an emotional support animal can be immense. They finally get the support that they need to be successful in their daily lives. Sometimes, however, the cost of owning a pet can be rather cumbersome, and people are left struggling to pay for their animal, torn between needing the animal for support and being to afford it. If you’re wondering whether there are any financial aid programs for emotional support animals, read on for what you need to know.
Financial Aid for Emotional Support Animals
Financial aid programs are beneficial for people with low income, as they help to offset some of the daily expenses people encounter. In the United States, there are many different programs in place to assist low-income families, seniors, children, and people with disabilities, to ensure that people are able to make ends meet and obtain the health care they need. There are programs to help support with food supplies, housing, education, child care, and utilities. But what about our pets? While there are financial aid programs for service animals, currently there are no financial aid programs for emotional support animals. It is difficult to obtain ESA financial assistance because this is still a relatively new concept and program, with emotional support animals only recently being recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Air Carrier Access Act.
No Financial Aid for My ESA Dog?! Now What?
Although there’s no official financial assistance for emotional support animals, there are things you can do to minimize the costs you incur as a pet owner. There are so many different choices out there for what animal makes the best ESA for you, but in the end, the choice is based on what animal provides you with the most support and comfort, coupled with what animal you can realistically afford. Choosing a horse as an emotional support animal would be a huge financial investment, and if you can afford to do so, then by all means you should. However, the cost of owning such an expensive animal may end up causing you more stress and anxiety in the long run. Even large dogs can sometimes be too expensive for those living on limited income. It is important to consider the financial aspect when choosing your emotional support animal.
When you add up the cost of food, pet insurance, and vet bills, the smaller the animal, the smaller the cost. Choosing animals such as small dogs, cats, rabbits, or guinea pigs costs much less than larger animals and can still provide lots of comfort and reassurance. Smaller animals eat less food, have smaller cages (for rodents and rabbits), and often have lower vet bills. With no financial assistance for emotional support animals available, choosing the right animal that is both a comfort and an economical choice is an important consideration.
Other Options for ESA Financial Assistance
Another option to investigate is whether or not your insurance provider could help you cover some of the costs incurred from your emotional support animal. Perhaps there is something they can do to offset some of your expenses. If nothing else, it is worth a phone call to see what financial assistance for your emotional support animal is available.
If your emotional support animal becomes suddenly ill, and you do not have the resources available to pay for expensive vet bills, there are a number of organizations that offer low-cost vet services to help low-income households. The Humane Society of the United States provides a lengthy list of various of national organizations that provide assistance to pet owners in need. Depending on what your pet requires, there may be an organization that could help you. Organizations like CareCredit and Scratchpay help you to work out payment plans, so your vet gets paid immediately while you can take several months to pay in smaller amounts that are more manageable.
There are also charities like Paws 4 A Cure and The Pet Fund that help pet owners pay for urgent and non-urgent pet care that otherwise might not be possible. Paws 4 A Cure will help cats and dogs, regardless of breed, age, or diagnosis, while The Pet Fund helps pet owners cover the cost of non-basic and non-urgent care for chronic conditions, heart disease, and cancer.
If these resources still do not provide you with the financial aid you are seeking for your emotional support animal, there is the option to start crowdfunding for your pet. Sites like GoFundMe provide users with a platform to set up their fundraising efforts. Create a profile, share your story and reasons for fundraising (and perhaps a photo of your beloved emotional support animal), and see if friends and family near and far might be able to chip in and help you out.
There are many possible options you can look into when in search of some financial aid for your emotional support animal. Making reasonable choices in pets, such as smaller, less expensive animals, can help to diminish your overall costs. Charities and financial organizations can help you to manage some of the expenses as well. Finally, be sure to keep your MooshMe emotional support animal certification up to date, in order to avoid incurring additional costs when travelling.