The company of an emotional support animal is beneficial in many ways. ESAs provide friendship and loving support to their owners. ESA treatment is effective at reducing the symptoms of a wide range of mental health conditions and generally improves quality of life.
In order for your pet to have emotional support animal status, and for you to enjoy all of the benefits that ESA status brings, you must have a legitimate ESA letter. The letter must be signed by a mental health professional, but only certain types of mental health professionals are qualified to sign an ESA letter.
Before you begin the process of getting an ESA letter, you need to know the answers to several crucial questions… What is an ESA letter, exactly? What rights do ESAs and their owners have? Who can sign an ESA letter? What kind of doctor can prescribe an emotional support animal? How do I apply for an emotional support animal letter? Let’s answer these important questions today.
What Is An ESA Letter?
An emotional support animal (ESA) letter is an official document that states that a person requires ESA treatment and that their pet is an official emotional support pet. An ESA letter must be signed by a mental health professional. An ESA letter affords the person and pet in question certain rights under the law.
What Makes An ESA Letter Legitimate?
An emotional support animal letter is legitimate if:
- It is signed by an appropriate mental health professional
- It is on official letterhead
- It is in-date
Why Must An Emotional Support Animal Letter Be Signed By A Professional?
An ESA letter needs to be signed by a professional because they are qualified to verify if a person needs and would benefit from ESA treatment. An ESA letter is an important document that gives its holder meaningful rights, and the ESA system must not be abused.
What Laws Deal With Emotional Support Animals?
The three federal laws that deal with emotional support animals are:
- Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Air Carriers Act (ACA)
- Fair Housing Act (FHA)
What Rights Do ESA Owners Have?
Emotional support animal owners have several rights. The main rights that ESA owners have are:
- Being able to take their emotional pets in the cabin of commercial airplanes
- Having their pet live with them in accommodation that would normally not allow pets
- Being able to travel on most forms of public transport with their ESA
Who Can Sign An ESA Letter?
An emotional support letter must be signed by a mental health professional who is qualified, licensed, and accredited. The ESA letter must be on the official letterhead of the signing mental health professional.
What Type Of Professional Can Sign An ESA Letter?
For an emotional support animal letter to be valid, it must be signed by a mental health professional who has one of the following qualifications:
- Clinical psychologist (Ph.D. or PsyD)
- Licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC)
- Licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT)
- Licensed clinical social worker (LCSW)
What Kind Of Doctor Can Prescribe An Emotional Support Animal?
A doctor can prescribe an emotional support pet if they are a fully licensed physician. Your family doctor will be able to sign your official ESA letter.
Can Any Therapist Write An ESA Letter?
Not just any therapist can write an emotional support animal letter. To write a valid ESA letter, a therapist must have one of the qualifications mentioned above.
Can A Nurse Practitioner Write An ESA Letter?
Nurse practitioners are not qualified to write an official emotional support animal letter.
How Long Is An Emotional Support Animal Letter Valid?
An ESA letter is valid for one year. Your letter will need to be renewed after one year and signed again by an appropriate mental health professional.
What Conditions Are Treated With An Emotional Support Pet?
Emotional support animal treatment is used to alleviate the symptoms of a wide range of mental health conditions. The most common conditions that respond well to ESA treatment are:
What Are The Most Popular Types Of ESA?
People gain emotional support from a wide range of types of pets. Most people find that pets with a social and friendly nature that enjoy human company and tactile connection make the best emotional support pets. The most common ESA types are:
- Pot-bellied pig
- Miniature horse
It is usually a good idea to get an emotional support pet that is of a species that is commonly kept as a pet, such as a dog or a cat. This is because more exotic emotional support animals are sometimes not allowed to travel on public transport if they are considered to be a potential nuisance to fellow travelers or staff.
How Do I Apply For An Emotional Support Animal Letter?
The best way to apply for your own emotional support animal letter is to visit the Moosh online clinic. You will have an online telemedicine consultation via video link with a state-licensed mental health professional, who will verify your suitability for ESA treatment.
Once your suitability has been verified, you will be immediately sent a certified emotional support animal letter.