Some of the best emotional support animals may have started as pets but proved vital in supporting their owner’s mental or emotional health. ESAs across the country support people with anxiety, PTSD, depression, and more every day.
An ESA letter is the most crucial document to legitimize your emotional support animal’s status. Certified documents let you take flights alongside your support animal and stay in accommodations, even if they have a no-animals policy.
You’ll have to follow specific steps in New Hampshire to qualify for an ESA letter. Here’s everything you need to know and the incredible benefits you can obtain when you get an NH ESA letter.
Do You Qualify for an ESA Letter in New Hampshire?
You need to qualify for an ESA letter in New Hampshire. The process is more involved and requires careful reflection on your circumstances and personal needs.
If you suffer from mental health issues of any kind, it’s likely your disorder impacts your quality of life to some degree. Conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression can prohibit those living with the condition from living out what others deem a normal life.
The help of an emotional support animal could greatly benefit a person by reducing the impact of a mental or emotional health issue on their quality of life. For example, someone with depression could struggle with feelings of numbness and loneliness. Animals are known to provide unconditional love, making them the perfect supportive companion for people with depression to feel needed and loved.
Once you’ve determined that you could benefit from an ESA, you’ll need to meet with a mental health professional for an evaluation. During the consultation, you can discuss why you believe your animal can assist you with any psychological or emotional difficulties you face.
During the appointment, they will ask you questions about your everyday life. The questions help them assess the impact of your disability on your quality of life.
Once they have sufficient information to evaluate your mental health or psychological disorder, they will discuss with you the ways an emotional support animal can alleviate some problems.
Who Can Write an ESA Letter in New Hampshire?
Only a mental health professional can write an ESA letter in New Hampshire. They must hold an active license in the state for your letter to be legitimate in New Hampshire.
You can meet with a wide range of professionals as long as they meet these requirements, including:
- Nurse Practitioner
- Primary Care Physician
- And more
What’s Inside a New Hampshire ESA Letter
Once issued by a licensed mental health professional (LMHP), your ESA letter will include your details. The LMHP must include the following information on the letterhead:
- State in which they received licensing
- The license number of the professional
- Handwritten signature
- Contact information
- Your diagnosis
- The prescription for the ESA
It’s important to note that you must be a registered patient or client under their care. Once approved, your letter will be valid for one year.
Benefits of Getting an ESA Letter in New Hampshire
Just as your mental health impacts every aspect of your life, an ESA letter lets you gain benefits in many ways:
The most significant benefit of getting an ESA letter is your certified animal. Your pet undoubtedly already supports you emotionally, whether as an assistance companion or a specifically trained pet. With the letter, your animal will gain official status for the emotional work they do for you.
Science shows that those who own pets have improved health. They have lower blood pressure during stressful situations than those that don’t have pets. For example, a trusted animal’s presence could prevent a stressful situation from becoming a panic attack for people with anxiety or PTSD. In cases of severe anxiety, emotional support animals can prevent hyperventilation from escalating.
Saves You Money
Your ESA letter is lawful proof that your pet must be by your side to support you emotionally and assist in your everyday life.
Because of their vital service, various laws allow you to avoid paying pet fees such as pet application fees and deposits.
In some places, they charge the usual customer a pet fee for staying in their accommodation and the like, but with your ESA letter, this will be free.
When planning your next flight, your ESA letter certifies that your animal is required to travel by your side. Some airlines will allow the animal to travel next to you in its seat; others require the animal to stay within its crate at your feet. If you have a large dog, discussing this with your chosen airline is best before booking.
Emotional Support Animals Laws in New Hampshire
Rules and policies differ slightly across the states. So, it’s crucial to stay up to date with relevant information according to your area.
No Living Restrictions
With a certified, legitimate emotional support animal letter, the law prohibits restrictions on where you can live. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) mandates that landlords and property managers must allow your emotional support animal to live with you, even if the facility typically has a no-pets policy.
The act requires landlords to offer reasonable adjustments to their tenancy agreement to allow people with disabilities to live with their support animals, whether they are emotional support animals or service animals. Landlords and housing services must waive any fees they currently have for pets.
There are exceptions to this law. For instance, if your animal were to cause damage to the property, the landlord still has the right to evict you and charge you for the damages. The same exception applies if your animal were to show any form of aggression to anyone or if your animal causes an allergic reaction to others.
If you’re a student, your ESA letter will allow your emotional support animal to live on campus with you. The FHA also branches out to campus living, protecting you from restrictions.
Do make sure not to confuse service animal laws with ESA laws. While service animals are welcome across most of the campus, universities may have restrictions for ESAs, depending on the institution. Some universities, such as the University of New Hampshire, require you to request accommodation to bring an ESA to campus.
There currently aren’t legal protections for ESAs, following a ruling change by the Department of Transportation. In 2021, the federal agency revised the Air Carrier Access Act, which previously required airlines to accommodate emotional support animals.
Despite these changes, various airlines will allow ESAs in the cabin or cargo.
The airline you choose to travel with is not allowed to ask about any details of your disability. However, they can request official documentation, and you must follow specific regulations.
You may be requested to provide your ESA letter and explain how your pet supports you.
Laws of Employment
An ESA might not affect your ability to find work, but whether your emotional support animal is allowed within your workspace is based on your employer.
There aren’t any laws that state your ESA is required to attend work with you. For this reason, inquire with your employer directly.
New Hampshire Exceptions
Other than the laws mentioned above, some specificities are noteworthy.
You must note that any laws regarding service animals do not automatically apply to emotional support animals. The NH Governor’s Commission on Disability states that service animals and emotional support animals are different classes of assistance animals. They further state that no public facility must allow an ESA.
How to Get an ESA Letter in New Hampshire: A Step-by-Step Guide
1. Make An Appointment
Your appointment with a mental health professional can be online or in person, as long as they hold an active license in New Hampshire.
Many people today opt for the online route, and thanks to telehealth services, you can see a therapist online. If visiting a professional in person raises your anxiety or makes you uncomfortable, that’s an even bigger reason to make an appointment online.
There isn’t a difference between certified ESA letters online and in person; they are equally valid.
2. Avoid ESA Letter Scams
As with most businesses online, some you encounter will not be legitimate. The number of websites offering speedy ESA letters is growing, but they often issue these without professional consultation, making them illegitimate.
You can check the legitimacy by ensuring the organization is paired with a licensed individual. The therapist should also be actively licensed in New Hampshire. Then, you can check on the legitimacy of the business itself. By searching the business’s name online and reading some reviews, you should get a scope of the business quite quickly.
3. Receive Your Letter
Most professionals will provide both physical and digital copies of your letter. First, you will receive your digital copy via email while waiting for the physical copy to arrive. Once you’ve received it post-successful assessment, you’re free to go ahead and put it to use.
4. Animal Training
No formal training is required to make your pet an emotional support animal. It’s great if your animal is already able to pick up on your emotions without you having to guide them, but whatever the case, formal training isn’t required.
That said, training may be helpful. Business owners and landlords reserve the right to deny access to animals that are unruly or cause a public disturbance, so training could lower the risks.
5. Know Your Rights
Don’t use your new ESA letter before reading up on the ESA Law in New Hampshire.
Once you’re confident you know how and where an ESA letter is appropriate, you can get out there and enjoy the benefits of an emotional support animal.
Getting an ESA letter is relatively simple. The process will be straightforward if you choose a licensed and professional healthcare advisor.
Once you’ve completed the initial assessment, your letter is valid for a whole year, so you can sit back and relax. An ESA letter could give your animal the status they deserve. If they already do so much for you, and you know your life could be even better if fewer restrictions affect your pet, start your ESA letter application.