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March 22, 2024

How Much Does an ESA Letter Cost?

Emotional support animals are vital companions for many individuals, and these companion animals provide many benefits to their owners through the comfort and sense of routine their presence brings. However, you must have a valid emotional support animal (ESA) letter if you wish to receive accommodations to live with your ESA and potentially take your emotional support animal to work with you.

Our article tells you more about ESA letters including how much you can expect an ESA letter to cost as you start the process of receiving one.

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What is an ESA Letter?

An emotional support animal letter is a letter that attests to an individual’s need for an emotional support animal. This letter is typically written by a mental healthcare provider who is licensed in your state, and the therapist will usually have an established relationship with the individual seeking an emotional support animal. Some states require that at least thirty days of a relationship between a patient and a mental healthcare provider pass before an ESA letter can be written.

Once an individual receives an emotional support animal stating their need for an ESA, they can show this letter to landlords, rental agencies, or employers as needed to request accommodations for their ESA. The only federal regulation that protects emotional support animals that must be honored with a valid ESA letter is the Fair Housing Act’s protection of housing rights.

Under the Federal Housing Act, any individual with an emotional support animal (this can be any animal, within reason) must be allowed to live with their ESA in any area of reasonable housing without paying pet rent or fees and despite any pet or breed restrictions.

Who Qualifies for an ESA Letter?

Many individuals may qualify for an emotional support animal letter, as these comfort animals can help with a wide range of conditions. In general, individuals who have a mental health condition or disability that impacts their life, but is not severe enough to need the daily help of a service animal, may benefit from an ESA. This is an evaluation that is made by the mental healthcare provider of each patient.

Common mental health conditions that qualify for the assistance of an emotional support animal include anxiety, depression, chronic stress, PTSD, and OCD. However, this list is not comprehensive, and if you think you would benefit from an emotional support animal with any condition, you should consult a mental healthcare provider.

How Do I Get an ESA Letter?

The process of obtaining an ESA letter involves meeting with a mental healthcare provider who is licensed in your state and discussing your needs. This is the first step, and if your provider thinks that an emotional support animal will fit well into your treatment plan, they will write you an ESA letter. You can then use your ESA letter to receive accommodations.

It’s important to keep in mind that many states require you to have an established relationship with a mental healthcare provider for at least thirty days before you are eligible to receive an ESA letter. Always check with specific state laws and try to avoid websites that offer templated letters or certificates for emotional support animals, as these typically aren’t valid and won’t allow you to request accommodations officially. Only a signed letter by a mental healthcare provider in your state grants you ESA rights.

What is The Cost of an Emotional Support Animal Letter?

How much it costs to receive an emotional support animal letter depends on the cost of meeting with your mental healthcare provider. For some, they may need several meetings over the course of a month before they are approved for an ESA letter. For others, they may only need one meeting before a letter can be written. The specifics depend on state laws.

Another thing to keep in mind is your personal insurance policies and what you may owe to a mental healthcare provider out of pocket. The ESA letter alone will not cost you anything, as your mental healthcare provider will write this for you once you are an approved patient, so the only cost you need to worry about is the cost of appointments with your mental healthcare provider.

On average, receiving an emotional support animal may cost you nothing or up to a few hundred dollars depending on specific factors like state, health insurance plan, and how many appointments you need before ESA approval.

Receiving the ESA Accommodations You Need

Emotional support animals are incredibly beneficial for many people, and receiving the ESA accommodations you need is a vital part of keeping your companion animal at your side. An emotional support animal letter is essential to request accommodations, and you cannot have a valid ESA without this letter. Your ESA letter shouldn’t cost you anything, though meetings with a mental healthcare provider to get an emotional support animal prescribed can have a cost. Additionally, opting for an emotional support animal registration can provide extra protection, though it’s not legally required.

If you believe you can benefit from an ESA, make an appointment with a licensed mental healthcare provider in your state today.