How Much Does an ESA Letter Cost?

Over the last decade, emotional support animals (ESA) have become increasingly popular worldwide. Humans and dogs have a strong relationship that goes back centuries. Other than being extremely adorable and loving, dogs can also help those struggling with mental issues

Animals can provide someone with the care and love they need to help them through tough times. Continue reading below to learn more about how much it costs to register your pet as an emotional support animal. 

What’s an ESA Letter?

An ESA or emotional support animal letter is a document that’s approved by a certified mental health professional allowing pets to enter areas in which they may not normally be allowed. A mental health professional will consult with the person to see if an emotional support animal will help with their condition. 

An ESA letter may be required for certain residential buildings and transport vehicles. Emotional support animals are recognized by the Fair Housing Act and property owners can’t discriminate against tenants who need to live with their pet. People can obtain an ESA letter from a wide variety of sources.

How Much Does an ESA Letter Cost?

The cost of an ESA letter can vary depending on which organization you go with. Typically, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $150 for complete assessment. 

Look out for scam companies that are offering “legitimate” ESA letters for next to nothing or don’t require an in depth therapist assessment. For the most part, these aren’t valid and won’t give you and your pet the privileges an actual letter would. 

How Much Does It Cost to Get an ESA Letter Online?

Thanks to the internet, you can register your pet as an emotional support animal right online. You can find options for flight and residency allowance for anywhere from $99 to $200, depending on which company you go with. 

If you’re planning on getting your ESA letter online, be sure to check the company you’re registering with to ensure they’re legitimate. This means the platform should be HIPAA compliant and the therapist does a complete assessment via a compliant video app. Phone calls are not considered a valid way to receive a therapy letter.

Can You Get an ESA Letter For Free?

Generally, it’s difficult to obtain an ESA letter free of charge. However, you can get a free letter if you’re currently seeing a licensed mental health professional (LMHP). Knowing this will help you avoid scammers, as no company can legally offer you a free letter. 

What Is the Process for Getting an ESA Letter?

While the process for obtaining an ESA letter may seem daunting from the surface, it’s surprisingly simple. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of how it works:

1.) Determine Your Need for an Emotional Support Animal

Above, we mention that emotional support animals are there to provide support and comfort for those struggling with mental health conditions. 

Generally, people suffering from the below mental health issues are good candidates for an ESA:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD

If you feel like you’re struggling with one of these conditions, you could benefit from registering your pet. 

2.) Reach Out to a Licenced Mental Health Professional

The next step is to get in contact with your LMHP or physician. They can give you a thorough evaluation to determine whether an animal for support would help you with your condition. 

Once they determine you’re eligible for an ESA, you can start your application process. However, make sure your LMHP approves you before paying for your letter. 

3.) Get Your Letter

Once you are approved by your mental health specialist, you should receive your letter not via email, but via a private, password-protected login.

This part should be easy just as long as you have a legitimate provider. The company issuing the letter should consult you about everything you need. 

Does Your Pet Need Specialized Training To Be an ESA?

While some animals may have specialized training that allows them to recognize the symptoms of mental health conditions, no official training is required for a letter. Dogs and cats have natural abilities to notice when their owners are stressed out or dealing with trauma. 

What Kinds of People Are Eligible for an ESA?

Although it’s excellent that more people are recognizing the abilities pets have to support and comfort their owners, a lot of people abuse the system for benefit. As a result, regulations for registering an emotional support animal are becoming stricter each year. 

Typically, only people who see an LMHP would qualify for an emotional support animal. Only certified psychiatrists and physicians can properly diagnose someone with a mental health condition, so it’s an integral part of the registration process. 

The most common mental health disorders that can be helped by having an emotional support animal are:

  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Extreme phobias
  • OCD

An LMHP can analyze the patient’s condition to see how an emotional support animal would ease their symptoms. In some cases, pets can reduce panic attacks, increase social interactions, and provide more motivation and purpose for their owners. 

Additional Tips

Whenever considering registering your pet as a support animal and then signing up for an assessment, always ensure the process you’re going through is legitimate. This includes checking up on your mental health specialist to see if they’re qualified. You can do so by looking up their practice on sites like Psychology Today. 

Companies offering letters should also have customer reviews and ratings showing their legitimacy as well.

The Bottom Line

The rise in the uptake of emotional support animals doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. More doctors and psychiatrists are understanding the health benefits of having pets in the house, and the registration process has become quite streamlined. 

However, it’s important to remain patient while trying to register your pet. Be sure not to skip any steps as you could end up wasting time and money.

If you’re looking for a reliable company that has extensive experience helping people register their pets as emotional support animals, ESA Registration has a team of professionals waiting to help. Feel free to contact our team with any questions or to learn more.