An emotional support animal (ESA) is a pet that provides comfort and support to an individual with a mental disability. People with mental disabilities, including those with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), may have difficulty interacting with other people. For example, people with anxiety disorders may have a hard time being around other people and places because of their fears. They may need a companion to calm them down or help them relax.
So, people with mental disabilities, who are also members of the general public, can request an emotional support animal to help them cope with their conditions. A person must have a diagnosed mental disability to qualify for an ESA. While an emotional support animal does not require specific training or certification, you do need to have an ESA letter.
This article will cover the eligibility requirements for obtaining an emotional support animal, and how you can obtain an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional (LMHP).
Can You Get an ESA Letter for Free?
Essentially, a person can get evaluated by a psychologist, counselor, or therapist, who may then write an ESA letter for the person. This letter can be used to verify that the pet that you have with you is an emotional support animal. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to enjoy the benefits that come with owning an ESA, as most establishments will simply assume you own a regular pet.
Many sites claim that they can provide you with an ESA letter for free. However, these are all scams. The reality is that it is not possible to get an ESA letter for free. An LMHP will always require a fee to provide an ESA letter. You can try to negotiate the price down, but this is not a reliable way to get an ESA letter for free. Generally, such a letter would cost anywhere between $100 and $200.
Instead of falling for scams that claim you can get an ESA letter for free in no time at all, try out some of these certified sites:
- ESA Doctors
How to Get an ESA Letter
The general option is to get an ESA letter from a psychologist, counselor, or therapist. If you have been diagnosed with a mental disability, you can request one of these professionals to write you an ESA letter. They will evaluate your condition and decide if an ESA letter is necessary.
The letter is only valid for twelve months at a time. After this time runs out, you will need to re-apply for a new ESA letter. You must present the letter when trying to apply for an apartment complex or go onboard a plane so that you can enjoy the benefits of having an ESA. Some establishments may also require additional papers, like your animal’s vaccination history.
Of course, you also need to ensure that your animal can stay well-behaved in public. The fact that your pet is not a vicious or aggressive animal is also important. If not, you may be required to leave the premises.
TomTom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!
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