Emotional support animals (ESA) are important companions to many individuals, and it’s important to register your dog as an ESA if you want to ensure you can take advantage of certain protections. If you are starting the process of registering your dog as an ESA, you need to know what is required and how much this might cost. Our article gives you tips on the cheapest way to register your dog as a legitimate ESA in order to keep it by your side wherever you live.
Do I Need to Register My ESA?
Emotional support animals are companion animals that provide comfort and relief to individuals who suffer from certain mental health conditions or disabilities. While you can benefit from an ESA without having them registered, if you want to take advantage of your federally protected housing rights to live with your emotional support animal, you will need to have them legitimately registered.
The process of registering your ESA involves speaking with a mental healthcare provider licensed in your state and ensuring you are qualified for an emotional support animal. There are many reasons why you may be eligible for an ESA, but common conditions that support animals help with include anxiety, depression, OCD, and PTSD.
Once you have been approved for an emotional support animal, your provider will write you a letter attesting to this need that allows you to take advantage of your support animal housing rights under the federal Fair Housing Act. You can speak with your provider for more information or consult the Fair Housing Act directly for more details.
Is Emotional Support Animal Registration Free?
Emotional support dog registration isn’t free, as you will likely need to pay a fee to meet with a licensed mental healthcare provider in your state. Depending on your insurance or the provider you meet with, this meeting may cost you almost nothing or a few hundred dollars. The actual ESA letter will be free, however, as this is part of your session with your provider, and they shouldn’t charge you separately for it.
It’s important to note that you cannot receive a free letter online, nor can you pay a fee to an online website and have them provide you with a letter. You must meet with a mental healthcare provider licensed in your state in order to discuss your needs and receive an emotional support animal letter. Otherwise, your ESA registration won’t be considered legitimate, and you might have trouble accessing your emotional support animal accommodations.
Avoiding ESA Letter Scams
When it comes to emotional support animals, there are plenty of scam websites out there offering letters at discount prices or templated letters for free. These letters won’t allow you to access your protected housing rights with your ESA as they aren’t legitimate – only an emotional support animal letter attesting to your need written by a mental healthcare professional is a recognized way to take advantage of your fair housing rights.
As you look for ESA letters online, you should keep an eye out for these warning signs that a website is a scam:
- There are plenty of places to input highly personal information, such as banking details, social security numbers, or credit card details.
- The website offers ESA letters for free or at a very low cost.
- You don’t need to meet with a licensed professional, or the letter is simply a printable template or online document.
- The website asks you to download software or other files onto your computer that supposedly carry your ESA information.
- The website or company is asking for an exorbitant amount of money in exchange for an emotional support animal letter.
If you are having trouble finding a therapist or other mental healthcare provider licensed in your state to speak with about an emotional support animal, US Service Animals can point you in the right direction with our team of professionals.
Having an emotional support animal by your side wherever you live is essential for many individuals with certain mental health conditions. It’s important to ensure that any emotional support animal letter you receive is legitimate so you can fully take advantage of your fair housing rights and live with your ESA in any suitable housing or apartment unit. Speak with a mental healthcare provider licensed in your state for more information about receiving an ESA letter for the lowest cost possible.