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How to Qualify for An Emotional Support Animal

ESA pig in the streets of New York

Overview

If you have an emotional disability, you can legally qualify for an ESA, short for an emotional support animal. You must have documentation of an emotional or mental disability from a psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, or other duly licensed and/or certified mental health professional. This certification should be a formal and appropriately formatted letter, known as an ESA Letter.

To qualify for an Emotional Support Animal, your ESA letter must be written on the mental health professional’s letterhead, including their license type, date of the license, license number, the state of the license, and the date the letter was written.

What the Letter Must Contain

Your ESA letter must contain some details which will inform your landlord that:

  • You are a current patient of the signing mental health professional
  • You have a mental disability that is covered by the Fair Housing Act
  • Your disability substantially limits you in performing or participating in at least one  major life activity
  • An Emotional Support Animal is an integral part of relieving symptoms of your current condition

It is recommended that the ESA letter be no older than a year.

What Disorders Qualify You as An Emotional Support Animal Owner

Some conditions that qualify for an ESA letter include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Panic Disorders
  • Learning disorders
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Tourette’s syndrome and tic disorders
  • Motor skill disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Dysphorias and dysmorphias

Emotional Support Animal Training

Unlike service animals, ESAs are not required to be trained to perform a service for their handlers. Your current pet may already be serving as your emotional support animal. To achieve official recognition, however, you must have an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional.

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204 comments

  1. Sonia Barber says: October 31, 2022
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