Emotional Support Animal Evaluations
ESA Travel and Housing Letters
Under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), tenants with mental/physical impairment are protected against being forced to give up their pets. Under the FHA, a disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment which significantly limits a person’s major life activities. Even if a lease says "no pets" or restricts pets, landlords are required to make what is called a “reasonable accommodation” to allow pets who serve as assistance animals, which includes animals who provide emotional support. Housing letters will waive any housing fees and allow your pet to reside with you in your home. For travel and housing letters, a letter by a licensed mental health professional is required after a thorough evaluation to determine eligibility.
Question: How do I know if I qualify for an ESA?
An emotional support animal is a type of assistance animal that is recognized as a “reasonable accommodation” for a person with a disability under the federal Fair Housing Act. An emotional support animal is not a pet. An emotional support animal is a companion animal that provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability.
An individual seeking an ESA:
Must have a “disability and disability-related need for an assistance animal” that can be verified.
Has a disability that meets the law’s definition as having a “major impact on a life activity,” commonly referred to as a functional limitation.
Usually experiences the effects of the disability through difficulties with sleep, focus and social interaction.
Has an animal (dog or cat) that relieves the symptoms of the disability and its effect on major life activities.
Significant impacts on major life activities
In summary, a disability can be verified if it has a significant impact on major life activities (sleep, concentration, focus, social interaction). If an animal helps mitigate those symptoms (sleep better, etc.), then an individual can be recommended for an assistance animal.
Question: What steps are taken to obtain an ESA letter?
Step 1) Get pre-qualified. Call for your free consultation and a licensed therapist will provide a set of screening questions to determine qualification.
Step 2) Schedule your appointment. Once qualification is met, a set of appointments will be scheduled to meet with the therapist. Appointments can be held in person or through our secure online system (Simple Practice).
Step 3) Therapist will write up the letter and provide letter on last appointment. or mailed to you.
Question: What can I expect during appointment(s)
Appointments typically consist of filling out a few assessments to evaluate emotional symptoms. Therapist will followup with a series of questions to assess emotional/psychological state and ways that the ESA animal provides relief to everyday life. If you have any medical documentation (prescriptions, diagnosis, etc.) to support your need for an ESA animal, therapist asks that this documentation be provided.
Does my emotional support animal need specific training?
An emotional support animal provides comfort to support a customer’s diagnosed mental or emotional disorder. Emotional support animals need not have specific training for that function. All must be trained to behave appropriately in a public setting. Your emotional support animal must behave appropriately in a public setting.
Question: Why see a therapist when I can obtain a esa evaluation and letter online?
Throughout the years, federal regulations have become much more stricter to ensure appropriate use of ESA benefits. Housing offices often require forms to be completed by a mental health professional and request to speak to professional. These benefits are not offered through many online ESA service providers. We ensure to meet the requirements and needs being requested by your housing company and fill out all forms.
Question: Are there any regulations that I should know of?
Recently, HUD updated their guidance (FHEO2020), applying new standards to the emotional support dog registration process, now requiring licensed mental health providers to have “personal client knowledge” and an “ongoing treating relationship.”
To comply, our Housing Evaluation Package provides multiple clinical sessions between client and an in-state licensed provider to comply with federal regulations.
Emotional Support Animal Letter Packages
Hotel Accommodation Letter for those Traveling:
$50 additional charge to travel letter for those travelers who are needing hotel accommodations with their assistance animal.
Expedited Evaluation and Letters:
$50 additional charge for those needing their appointment and letters within 24-72 hours.
Forms Needed to be Completed:
$40 additional charge for landlord and/or airline forms needed to be filled out and completed by therapist.
Second Animal Needed to be Qualified?
$80 additional charge for those qualifying a second assistance animal.
Banned Breeds Needs Assessments (includes: pit bull, rottweiler, GSD, husky, and others)
$40 additional charge (includes a canine behavioral questionnaire)