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Can a Social Worker Write an ESA Letter?

Can a Social Worker Write an ESA Letter?

Social workers are qualified to write an emotional support animal (ESA) letter. Here are the reasons why.

Under HUD’s guidelines for emotional support animals, you must get an ESA letter from a licensed healthcare professional. The term “licensed healthcare professional” encompasses a wide variety of mental health professionals. For example, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and nurses can write ESA letters. 

As licensed professionals that assist in client mental health, social workers can write ESA letters. HUD has even specifically named social workers as being allowed to write ESA letters in previous guidance

Some states also have their own rules that allow social workers to write ESA letters. For example, under Illinois law, an ESA letter can come from “a mental health service provider” or “a non-medical service agency or reliable third party who is in a position to know about the individual’s disability.” 

Social Workers and Mental Health 

Social workers are highly trained professionals who aim to improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. After earning a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, they must complete supervised work experience and pass a national test to obtain licensure. 

In the mental health field, social workers assess and treat individuals with emotional and mental disorders. They provide counseling, therapy, and support, develop treatment plans, and connect clients with resources and services. Their goal is to improve their client’s quality of life and mental health.

This role puts them in a great position to gauge a person’s mental health and recommend an emotional support animal when necessary. 

What to do if Your Social Worker Can’t Write an ESA Letter

If your social worker can’t write an ESA letter, don’t worry, there are many alternatives. Some social workers won’t write ESA letters because they are not familiar with the process or are untrained in assessing the client’s need for one. 

There are plenty of healthcare professionals who specialize in ESA letters. If you’re looking for someone to write you an ESA letter, don’t be afraid to ask in advance whether they have expertise in that area. In the long run, it can be helpful to work with a professional with ESA experience and attuned to ESA owners’ needs. 

Can a Social Worker Write an ESA Letter?

About the Author: The writing team at Service Dog Certifications is made up of folks who really know their stuff when it comes to disability laws and assistance animals. Many of our writers and editors have service dogs themselves and share insights from their own experiences. All of us have a passion for disability rights and animals.

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