The benefits of an emotional support animal (ESA) have gained mass recognition in recent years. But often, to keep our ESA by our side, we need a certified ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional to legally recognize our pet as such.
ESA letters can now be easily obtained online, but with numerous websites claiming a quick solution, it's important to do some research before moving forward with any one service.
US Service Animals is a popular provider that offers ESA letter services. If you're wondering if this company is the right provider for you, we’ve put together a comprehensive review evaluating their credibility and overall ESA letter service. We’ll answer the question, “Is US Service Animals legit?” so that you can make an informed decision that suits your ESA letter needs.
A Quick Look
There are key factors to consider before choosing an ESA letter provider. In the below article, explore how US Service Animals performed in these three areas:
Do they follow federal laws and regulations?
How do they compare the other companies? Do they offer a money-back guarantee in case they can't provide a letter?
How quickly can they provide you with a letter in comparison to other services?
What Is US Service Animals?
US Service Animals is an online service that helps people register their support animals, provides training for Psychiatric Service Animals, badly behaved or otherwise, and helps those who need emotional support animals get the ESA letters they need.
Their website offers resources and guidance on obtaining and requesting documentation from a licensed medical professional. The certification process is simple: customers fill out a short online questionnaire, which is then looked over by a trained mental health professional. If the customer meets the criteria for an ESA, they will receive their letter via email and physical mail.
What Are the Legal Benefits of ESA Letters?
An emotional support animal letter authored by a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) specifies that an individual requires an ESA due to a mental or emotional disability. It is the only legitimate way to prove that your emotional support animal is invaluable.
Possessing an ESA letter ensures legal protection under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), enabling ESA owners with a mental illness to stay united with their animals in housing that may otherwise have a no-pet policy.
How Do Emotional Support Animals Differ from a Service Animal?
ESAs shouldn't be confused with service dogs or psychiatric service dogs, which require specific training to perform specific tasks for their humans. A service animal or a service dog is specially trained to assist people with medical conditions such as hearing impairments, whereas an emotional support dog provides necessary comfort and support to those navigating mental health problems. They don't need to be trained because their presence alone is enough to support us.
Evaluating the Legitimacy of US Service Animals
When it comes to the legitimacy of an ESA letter provider, there are several factors to consider. Below are some essential aspects to evaluate when assessing the validity of US Service Animals.
Registration, Licensing, and Accreditation
A legitimate ESA letter provider should have the necessary registration, licensing, and accreditation to operate legally.
US Service Animals operates under the jurisdiction of the United States and adheres to federal and state regulations. Their mental health professionals are licensed and qualified to assess an individual's need for an ESA, as well as legally recognize legitimate service sogs by providing service dog registration.
Qualifications of Mental Health Professionals
Only a licensed mental health professional (LMHP), like a psychologist, psychiatrist, or therapist, can write an ESA letter. US Service Animals works with a network of licensed professionals to review and assess each customer's need for an ESA.
Their ESA letters meet the legal requirements for validity, and they can provide official registration that you can give to your housing provider.
Compliance with Federal and State Laws
US Service Animals has emphasized that they comply with the Fair Housing Act and Air Carrier Access Act guidelines. Their website states that they can connect you with a licensed professional within your state of residence, a critical element in determining an ESA letter's legal validity.
ESA Letter Format and Contents
For an ESA letter to be valid, it needs to include certain information, like the mental health professional's license number, contact information, and the date it was issued. The ESA letters from US Service Animals have all the necessary information, like a statement proving that the person needs an ESA, information about the mental health professional's license, and a signature.
Online Reviews and Testimonials
One way to gauge the legitimacy of an ESA letter provider is to examine customer reviews and testimonials. Negative reviews are often a sign that a company might not have your best interest in mind. Employees are human, too, capable of making mistakes or having a bad day, so of course a few bad reviews are normal.
On the US Service Animals website, you can view their testimonials section, where reviews are transparently posted. There you can see that customers have shared mostly positive experiences with the company's services. A quick search on independent review platforms also reveals a general satisfaction trend with the company's services, further supporting their legitimacy.
Comparing US Service Animals to Other ESA Letter Providers
Although US Service Animals holds up in terms of legitimacy, before choosing an ESA letter provider, it's important to compare different options to ensure that you make the best choice for you.
Here are some guidelines to consider when comparing US Service Animals with other providers.
Cost of ESA Letter Service
US Service Animals offers its ESA letter service at a competitive price comparable to industry standards. This price includes the evaluation by a licensed mental health professional, the ESA letter, and customer support throughout the process.
Turnaround Time and Customer Support
US Service Animals prides itself on a quick turnaround time, often delivering ESA letters within 48 hours of the assessment. Their customer support team is responsive and available to address customers' questions or concerns during the process.
A reputable ESA letter provider should have clear policies regarding revisions and refunds. US Service Animals offers a money-back guarantee if their mental health professional denies the customer's application for an ESA, demonstrating their commitment to customer satisfaction.
Advantages and Disadvantages of US Service Animals
Like any service provider, US Service Animals has its advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these pros and cons can help determine if their ESA letter service is the right choice for you.
Here are some of the advantages that we found:
Qualified mental health professionals:
US Service Animals works with licensed and experienced professionals to provide legitimate ESA letters.
The cost of their ESA letter service is comparable to industry standards, though more expensive than providers like CertaPet and Pettable.
Quick turnaround time:
Customers typically receive their ESA letters within 48 hours of the assessment.
Responsive customer support:
US Service Animals has a dedicated customer support team to assist with any questions or concerns.
Here are some of the disadvantages that we found:
Limited in-person consultations:
As an online platform, US Service Animals may not be the best option for individuals seeking face-to-face consultations with a mental health professional.
Potential privacy concerns:
Sharing sensitive information online always carries some risk, although US Service Animals emphasizes the importance of protecting customer data.
Why We Recommend Pettable Instead
Although we were impressed with US Service Animals as a legitimate and reliable ESA letter provider, Pettable stands out for its quality of health providers and Psychiatric Service Dog Services, as well as their consistent support post letter process.
Pettable works with the most qualified and credentialed mental health professionals nationwide, providing access to your state's best therapists. Both the ESA letter and psychiatric service dog (PSD) certification services are known for their strict hiring process.
They also make renewing your letter seamless and provide training and behavioral support for dogs to customers in need of those services.
Pettable also backs its ESA letters with a money-back guarantee if you aren’t approved or if your landlord rejects your letter. Pettable’s services and outstanding customer support make it the most credible and customer-friendly ESA provider available in our experience, which is why it is our top pick for our ESA or PSD needs.
Nonetheless, we provided this information to help you make the decision that's right for you. Here are some tips on how to make an informed choice.
Tips for Obtaining a Legitimate ESA Letter
To ensure the validity of your ESA letter, these tips can help you search for a reliable provider:
Work With a Qualified Mental Health Professional:
A legitimate ESA letter can only be issued by a licensed mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Doing some research to make sure that the service you are using does not only connect you with a qualified professional, but also someone licensed in your state is important.
Conduct Thorough Research:
Spend time researching various ESA letter providers to find a reputable and reliable option. Outside reviews are also a good source of research that allow you to measure what service fits your needs against other people’s experiences.
How to Recognize Signs of Fraud:
Be wary of providers offering instant ESA letters, extremely low prices, or guarantees without a proper assessment by a mental health professional. These are often signs of fraudulent services.
After evaluating the legitimacy of US Service Animals and their ESA letter online service, we were impressed by their reliability. They work with licensed mental health professionals, offer competitive pricing, and prioritize customer satisfaction. Although they are a solid option, they did not beat our first choice. With Pettable, all it takes is a 3-minute questionnaire to get started.
Hopefully, this article has given you a little bit of insight on what to look for when choosing a trustworthy ESA letter provider that can support you in staying united with your emotional support animal and on your larger journey toward mental health and well-being.