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Before reading on, however, please note that, while many of the most common conditions that qualify people for an emotional support animal are listed, these are not the only qualifying conditions for an ESA. As long as you can get a doctor or other health professional to write and sign a letter attesting that you have a disability that impairs your ability to live independently for which an emotional support animal would mitigate the symptoms of that disability causing that impairment, you are allowed to have an ESA.

Qualifying Condition for ESA

General Anxiety Disorder

An ESA could help ameliorate much of the general anxiety a person with General Anxiety Disorder can experience throughout the day.

Social Anxiety Disorder

An ESA could help a person with Social Anxiety Disorder to overcome the fears associated with social interaction and increase a person’s self-confidence.

Panic Disorder

An ESA could help calm a person suffering from Panic Disorder, whether reducing the impact and duration of a present panic attack or helping to prevent such attacks from even occurring. Often, an ESA can accomplish this objective merely by its presence.

Fears and Phobias

An ESA can help a person with Phobias or Fears — be they of heights, the dark, open spaces, crowds or social situations — to ease the stress these intense emotional experiences can provoke.

Depression

An ESA can help give a person with Depression the motivation to get up from bed each morning. An ESA can also help raise such a person’s spirits and keep him or her from ever feeling too down. When symptoms of depression are unavoidable, an ESA can at least help comfort the person experiencing them.

Bipolar Disorder

An ESA can be a consistent source of reliable companionship and unconditional affection no matter what a person with Bipolar Disorder’s energy or activity level or mood. In times of extreme or rapidly changing mental and emotional states, an ESA can help ground a person by providing that constancy and stability a person may be unable to provide for him or herself in a given moment.

Impulse-control Disorder

The comfort and adoration of an ESA can help a person with Impulse-control Disorder to reign in those impulses and moderate the urges overwhelming him or her.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

While an ESA can’t necessarily prevent a person with OCD from engaging in obsessive-compulsive behaviors, an ESA could mitigate those behaviors, helping the person to relax and feel comforted while undergoing the experience.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Whether the symptoms occur in the form of nightmares, paralyzing flashbacks or any other symptoms, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can be ameliorated by the mere presence of an ESA. Often, simply having a trusty companion by one’s side can help to keep the worst of PTSD symptoms at bay.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

An ESA can provide a much-needed sense of stability and continuity during the changing of the seasons. As the weather and temperature changes, the environment and activities outdoors and in change, a reliable, constant companion can be an immense comfort.

Postpartum Depression

An ESA can be a helpful bridge for women between giving birth and getting on with life.

An emotional
support animal living with you in your home

To get permission from your landlord or housing provider to have an emotional support animal living with you in your home, you need only have a letter from your medical provider stating that you have a disability, that the symptoms of your disability impair your ability to perform certain necessary life activities and that the presence of an emotional support animal can help make those challenges easier to endure and possibly overcome.

This letter, often referred to as a “prescription letter”, gives you permission to have an ESA live in your housing with you, according to the Fair Housing Act, without being charged additional pet deposits or fees by your landlord or rental company. It also allows your ESA travel with you without you incurring extra charges to do so, according to the Air Carrier Access Act.

Getting an ESA for Your Qualifying Condition

You need no other certifications, registrations or other documentation, nor may your housing provider ask for further details about the nature or effects of your disability. There is no need to register your ESA as an ESA.According to the Air Carrier Access Act which your prescription letter must be less than one year old to be valid to allow your ESA to travel on a plane with you. An airline must also be notified in advance of your trip that you will be traveling with an ESA. Even with a valid letter, if you show up on the day of your travel with an ESA to accompany you on board but failed to notify the carrier ahead of time, the carrier is legally permitted to refuse your ESA from traveling with you.

If you choose to register your ESA with a service that offers ESA registration, be aware that this does not give you the legal permission to live and travel with your ESA. The only document that grants you this permission is your original prescription letter from your licensed health care provider.

Still Not Sure If You Qualify and What are the Next Steps to Make Your Animal an ESA?

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