The interest towards emotional support animals (ESA) in recent years has not only been due to the findings that pets can benefit our mental and emotional well-being but also given the benefits and advantages that come with legitimately designating your animal as an ESA.
The certification is recognized under various types of laws and regulations in the United States, giving those with ESA letters protections under certain types of discrimination that may arise due to their ownership of an animal. However, when looking at the most prominent ways in which these documents can protect against unfair fees, it is clear that the two that stand out the most are those seen in housing and travel circumstances. These protections ensure that any fees are exempt from those who have the legitimate documents claiming that they require the support of their animal companion, and can be beneficial in bringing about fair treatment for you and your pet. Here is how they protect against unfair payments.
Airline Travel and ESA
This is one of the most commonly sought after reasons that individuals try to get an ESA documentation. For the most part, animals and pets are restricted from being allowed onboard commercial aircraft, barring their owners from being able to take them on vacation or travels, no matter the circumstance.
However, luckily for animal owners around the country that have a valid reason to bring their pets on their trips with them, an ESA letter can ensure that not only is your animal allowed on the flight, but also that you are not charged any extra fees for wanting to bring them with you.
The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) is a federal law that claims any discrimination against an individual due to their physical or mental disabilities is unlawful and punishable under such regulations. This applies to animal companions that provide emotional support as well, as they are considered to be ways in which individuals suffering from such handicaps are able to cope with their challenges. Anybody who has a legitimate certification from a mental health professional will be allowed to bring their animals on board, given that they fall under the umbrella of compliance for relevant and plausible animals to bring on board.
However, there are certain requirements that must be certifiably met in order to not only be able to bring the animal on-board but also to avoid being charged added fees for doing so. These specifications include having valid documents that provide explanations as to why or how the animal provides the proclaimed emotional support, a letter from a mental health expert that is endorsing the use of the animal to alleviate symptoms of the disability, as well as having a mental or emotional disorder that falls under the category of mental disorders as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). If all of these bases are covered, then it provides the opportunity for you to bring your ESA with you on your work trips, vacations, and other travels, keeping your companion close at almost all times.
ESA for Housing
Another major reason why individuals have attempted to opt-out of an ESA certification is due to the fact that many landlords often fail to recognize and permit the ownership of pets. Especially when it comes to renting or leasing, the landlord may be concerned about the well-being of the home itself, and believe that the pet will cause damage to the property.
In this regard, landlords will often undergo one of two routes. These include either outright forbidding the ownership of animals on their property, or another route which entails collecting a sometimes hefty financial deposit to ensure against any aesthetic damages that the animal brings about to the unit. Either way, the ESA letter comes immensely in handy when it comes to housing opportunities.
However, under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), those who are in ownership of a legitimate ESA document are able to bypass these proposed restrictions as imposed by landlords, allowing them to have more opportunities and options in finding a home that suits them best. Not only do the restrictions of the landlord dissipate, as a result, but they are also simultaneously forbidden by law to ask for a pet deposit to act as insurance against any potential damages that may arise. An attempt to do so is punishable by the law, and any attempt to discriminate against you for your ownership of an emotional support animal is also, similarly, illegal.
As a result, an ESA can save you not only headache and difficulty when looking for a home that allows your companion to come with you, it also protects you from unfair and unwarranted pet deposits at the will of the landlord. However, it is important to make sure that the documentation you have is valid and legitimate, due to the fact that the landlord does have the right to ask for the letter from the medical professional. If the document is deemed illegitimate, it no longer provides protection under the FHA, or any laws, and allows the landlord to forgo your application for the home.
Get an Emotional Support Animal Letters
When looking at how the certification of an ESA can provide widespread benefits for you and your pets, it is clear that it provides more openness and freedoms, while simultaneously protecting you against any unfair fees and expenses. Especially in terms of airline travel and housing discrimination, such a letter protects your emotional disability against any attempt to disregard your needs, due to the fact that you are prescribed the animal as a result of certain debilitations.
If you feel that you suffer from an emotional disorder, and have yet to attain the letter or determine whether you truly do, consider visiting a mental health expert to see if they can diagnose if the disability does exist. Taking the time to do so, especially if you already own a pet, will provide a range of benefits and advantages that would have otherwise been absent, and make it more easy and efficient to own a pet regardless of certain rules and regulations that are in place against them.
If your landlord doesn’t allow pets, or you are traveling soon and want to avoid airline fees, EZCare Clinic can help. Make an appointment to see one of our licensed physicians for your ESA letter in San Francisco today. You can also get your Emotional Support Animal (ESA) letter online by downloading our ZenMD app. We are open 7 days a week, from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.