Emotional Support Animal Letter

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Emotional Support Animal Letter

The modern world is filled with stress and difficulties. Some people manage them better, and some require professional help or emotional support. Unfortunately, the latest surveys and trends show that plenty of people are currently struggling with depression and other mental conditions that affect people’s lives quality and overall well-being.

Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is one of the options for mental illness treatment and health maintenance. But such an option requires the applicant to file appropriate documentation. Below, we will tell you how to compose a letter to get ESA.

In our article, we will touch upon such issues as:

  • An ESA definition and the advantages of owning one;
  • List of papers one should have to prove rights for this kind of animal;
  • The documentation requirements;
  • Who can qualify for an emotional support animal;
  • Instructions to filling out the form.

What Is an ESA?

These are animals that minimize the negative symptoms associated with a person’s emotional disability. Most often, such animals are represented by dogs or cats, but, of course, the definition is not limited to these two species.

The main thing is that the animal acts as a companion, providing a therapeutic effect and emotional assistance for the person struggling psychologically.

It is viewed as a means that helps a person function in everyday life, similar to everyone else. You may compare it to people with physical disabilities who use wheelchairs and crutches to stay on the move but only in terms of emotional support.

Scientists proved a while ago that people living with a support animal have succeeded in reducing stress and cortisol level, cholesterol, and generally improving their mental health condition. But do not mistake an ESA for a Service Animal as there is a primary difference: no special skills or courses are required for animals to become an ESA. Although, of course, it is in your best interest to have an animal distinguished by good behavior and obedience. ESA must not harm people, their or public property.

Benefits of Having an ESA

The presence of ESA gives several benefits to its owner:

  • Airlines are required to allow ESA to be carried on board with the owner at no additional cost;
  • Landlords are obliged to allow you to live in a rented dwelling unit with your ESA, even if there is a no-pet policy applied to your tenancy (also without additional payments or deposits).

The good news for those who love traveling but cannot afford to leave a pet alone at home is that an animal qualified as an ESA is allowed on board the planes and in most other places that usual pets typically cannot access. Plus, there is no fee for transferring ESAs or accommodation (it is prohibited by law to set such a fee in the first place).

Thus, this animal is your companion who is allowed to live with you or accompany you on trips. However, this does not guarantee the admission of your pet to restaurants or shops.

What Is an ESA Letter?

Usually, personal psychiatrists or psychologists should comprise a cover letter confirming the fact that the subject person is eligible to have a pet at home and is capable of taking proper care of it. It is important to note that the professional must be authorized by the respective authorities of the state you reside in.

The letter must certify that you have a diagnosis for which an ESA is recommended and that ESA is a part of your therapy.

Some airlines also ask that the letter indicate the breed and weight of the animal.

ESA Letter Requirements

The letter must be performed on the official letterhead of the issuing specialist and include the doctor’s contact information, license number, and signature. Also, the document cannot be dated later than one-year of submission.

The letter contains the patient’s name and lists the limitations that ESA can help with.

Also, it will not be superfluous to indicate that you need the animal for travel and the identifying data of the animal (breed, weight).

We must warn you that document forgery is punishable under US law. You can use the sample letter to show it to your doctor, but they must complete and sign it themselves.

Laws

Sure, the US law governs the ESA adoption process as animals should be protected by any possible abuse or the threat of it coming from a human being. Thus, the ESA agencies shall comply with the following norms and requirements when performing their activities:

  • Fair Housing Act (in cases when it comes to dealing with the landlord regarding the animal’s residence in the rented premises);
  • The Air Carrier Access Act (for cases when it comes to carrying animals on board the plane).

Who Qualifies for an ESA?

To get an opportunity to have an ESA, a licensed mental health expert must diagnose you with one of the mental disorders. They must be specified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).

Here are some of the most common examples of such diseases:

  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Learning disabilities
  • Intellectual disability

In many mental illnesses, the presence of ESA improves the patient’s condition. While caring for someone else, people become distracted and learn to perform daily functions.

For some people, having an ESA even gives meaning in life. Caring for an animal can pull a person out of a depressed or anxious condition. Petting an ESA distracts and calms the person, reduces anxiety.

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How to Fill out the ESA Letter

If you are a licensed professional and would like to write an ESA letter so that your patient could get an emotional support animal, you can use our form-building software to do so.

Also, check out our step-by-step guide to filling out the letter below to help you fill in all the information required for a successful application.

Obtain the Official Form Template

The letter must be written on the official letterhead of the person signing the document.

Date the Letter

Enter a date for filling out the letter. It is important to note that the duration of the letter cannot exceed a period of one year. After that, it is required to reconfirm the patient’s diagnosis and re-write the letter.

step 2 - date the letter - filling out esa letter

Provide the Specialist’s Data

It is necessary to indicate:

  • Professional name
  • Position
  • License number and details
  • The address
  • Contact number
  • Email

step 3 - provide the specialist’s data - filling out esa letter

Put the Appeal

The specialist can indicate a specific appeal or write “To Whom It May Concern.”

step 4 - put the appeal - filling out esa letter

Identify the Patient

It is necessary to indicate the patient’s full name and the period of the observation by a specialist.

step 5 - identify the patient - filling out esa letter

Specify the Patient’s First Name

In these blank spaces, you should only indicate the Patient’s First name.

step 6 - specify the patient’s first name - filling out esa letter

Describe the Limitations (if any)

Indicate what limitations the patient has in connection with the mental illness.

step 7 - describe the limitations (if any) - filling out esa letter

Repeat the Patient’s Name

The patient’s full name should be entered again in the blank.

step 8 - repeat the patient’s name - filling out esa letter

Give a Recommendation Concerning Flights

The specialist may also write that the patient needs to fly with their ESA. Airlines would like the letter to indicate the type of animal, breed, and weight.

Sign the Letter

Put your signature, thereby certifying the authenticity of the letter.

step 10 - sign the letter - filling out esa letter