What is the Americans with disabilities act (ADA)?
The Americans with disability act (ADA) was enforced more than two decades ago. Under this civil-rights law, discrimination against individuals with disabilities is strictly prohibited.
The ADA protects the laws of people with disability in their public life including; workplace, public accommodation, educational institutes, transportation, telecommunication and all other places open for the general public.
This law ensures that people with emotional disabilities should have the same opportunities and rights as others.
It helps provide same employment opportunities for disabled individuals as everyone else; requiring employers to provide them with reasonable accommodations to do their job without any hassle or discomfort. Employers having 15 or more employees must follow this law.
It also requires public entities like state and other public agencies to avoid any kind of discrimination and make their programs easily accessible for people with disabilities be it physical or emotional.
Discrimination against disabled people in public areas such as apartments, hotel, doctor’s office, movie theatre, sports stadium, etc. is prohibited.
The ADA also requires telephone and internet service providers to cater to the needs of people with hearing and speech disabilities and make communication over the phone possible for them.
When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was first implemented in 1990, the number of protections offered were limited for the emotional support animal owners.
Since then, the protections being offered to service animals, emotional support animals, and their owners have increased and modified greatly.
There is a misconception among people regarding service animals, emotional support animals, and psychiatric service dogs; that all of these types of animals serve the same purpose.
It is important to understand that there is a significant difference between all of these categories of animals being used as a coping mechanism. Similarly, the legal rights and protections offered to them differ too.
Let’s take a look at each of these animals: SAs, ESAs, PSDs:
Service Animal (SA):
A service animal typically a dog or a miniature horse is individually trained to perform tasks or assist people with physical disabilities in performing different tasks and doing their work.
They assist individuals with the following disabilities:
In the USA service animals or service dogs are used to help people who are blind, deaf, or suffering from mobility impairment, or seizures; by performing specific tasks.
These animals can be trained to perform several different tasks such as:
Therapy dogs are also a type of service animals but they are not trained to perform different tasks; instead, they are taken to different places such as school and offices to spend time with people having a difficult time.
However, outside the USA these service dogs are used to describe animals who work for the police, rescue and search services or the military. And the term “assistance animals” is used for describing animals who assist disabled individuals.
Service animals have different names such as assistance animals, helper animals, or assist animals. They vary depending on their responsibilities and the country.
Along with dogs, miniature horses and monkeys are being used to assist individuals with disabilities.
Miniature horses are trained to help people restricted to a wheelchair by moving them around, also, for guiding the blind and supporting people with Parkinson’s disease.
Helper monkeys are similar to assistance dogs and provide help to people with spinal cord issues, paralysis or other mobility issues.
The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) protects the rights of these service animals.
Emotional Support Animal (ESA):
Emotional support animals unlike, service animals are not trained for performing specific tasks. Instead, an ESA benefits its owner by providing him/her with comfort and companionship.
They are often referred to as “support animals,” “comfort animals” or “companion animals.” And are used as a medical treatment for people with emotional disabilities.
You are more likely to see a dog or a cat to be someone’s emotional support animal. But the use of other animals like ducks, miniature pigs, rabbits, and chickens has been reported too.
Emotional support animals help reduce the symptoms of individuals suffering from mental/emotional disabilities, including:
Under the ADA individuals suffering from the conditions mentioned above qualify for an emotional support animal.
In addition to that, to qualify for an emotional support dog or animal, a person needs to get an “Emotional support animal letter.”
The process of obtaining an ESA letter is fairly simple; you need to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed therapist, or another licensed mental health professional; it cannot be your family doctor or another medical specialist such a cardiologist.
Once you have been diagnosed, your therapist will write an ESA letter allowing you to keep an ESA.
If you suffer from social anxiety and don’t feel comfortable leaving your house; you can easily order your ESA letter online.
Through our legally certified process, you can have your ESA letter reach you within 24 hours.
However, it is important to understand that you don’t need to register your emotional support animal. In fact, there is no such thing as “ESA registration,” in case, you come across a website claiming to register your ESA or pet know that it is a scam and immediately leave the website.
Psychiatric Service Dog (PSD):
Psychiatric service dogs can act as both service animals and emotional support animals. They provide their owner with emotional support and can be trained to assist people with psychiatric disabilities.
Psychiatrist service dogs are trained to perform tasks that decrease its owner’s disability. Individuals suffering from severe disorders can qualify for psychiatric service dogs.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires landlords and house owners to make reasonable accommodation for ESA owners for their emotional support animal as an assistive aid.
Similar to the accommodations made for people with mobility impairments.
However, an ESA owner cannot ask their landlords for unreasonable accommodations and put them in a hard spot financially. For example, the request to put grass in the backyard instead of concrete so an ESA dog can play around can be denied by the owner.
Under the ADA and the Fair Housing Act of 1988, the rights of disabled individuals against unfair housing regulation are protected.
Landlords who have a “no pet policy” cannot deny housing to the individuals with an ESA having a legit ESA letter.
If the owner needs reasonable accommodations to be made for his/her ESA; it is suggested that they write a letter to their owner.
A landlord is prohibited to discriminate between people with disabilities and others by denying them housing just because of their ESA.
Similar to how you cannot deny a person restricted to a wheelchair housing because they are on a wheelchair.
In addition to that, landlords cannot ask an ESA owner that their animal goes through specific training or use a harness or a collar.
Moreover, they cannot impose restrictions on the size/breed/type of animal.
Finding a pet housing society can be fairly difficult for ESA owners, but with a legitimate ESA letter, they can have reasonable accommodation for their pet.
The ADA protects the ESA owners from having to pay pet fee or deposits.
Landlords cannot legally charge their tenants for extra fee or advanced deposits for their emotional support animals.
However, in case of significant damage done to the property by the ESA, the ESA owner will be held responsible and will be asked to pay the amount accordingly.
The air carrier access act was passed in 1986; it prohibits discrimination against people with emotional/mental disabilities, making sure that they travel with their emotional support animal.
Airlines cannot ask these individuals traveling with their ESA to inform them before traveling, except for when special medical accommodations need to be made.
Airlines can’t legally ask an individual with an ESA to pay an extra fair. Or ask them to spit in specific spots away from rest of the public unless their ESA is large and may cause hindrance.
However, under the ADA emotional support animals and service animals are not given the same protection laws, which often causes confusion for the ESA owners.
This is the reason why many people have asked to revise the ADA to avoid any confusion between the rights of ESAs, SAs and PSDs.
Do you have any further questions regarding an ESA letter, do let us know?
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