Many Paralyzed Veterans of America members have made complaints about problems with airport security, such as being requested to get out of their wheelchairs, remove their shoes, or display personal medical devices. Now an existing Transportation Security Administration (TSA) program for injured service members has recently been expanded to permit all veterans to proceed through security safely and with dignity.
Initially, the TSA worked with the Department of Defense (DOD) to create a program to ease the airport screening process for injured service members. Since 2005, DOD’s Military Severely Injured Joint Services Operations Center Program has included TSA staff on a 24-hour, 7-day a week basis. When an injured service member provided flight information to the center, TSA staff would guide the passenger through the security process. The TSA liaison officer notified the appropriate federal security director at relevant airports to ensure that any security screening required at those airports would be conducted by TSA screening experts with empathy and respect.
Recently, this program became available to all veterans, so anyone who has served in the military can take advantage. The veteran or service member should contact the Operations Center’s 24–72 hours before a confirmed flight at the toll-free number (888) 262-2396 with flight information. The passenger may also email the call center at MSIJSOC@DHS.GOV with the itinerary. Callers will be connected to a TSA liaison officer who will notify security officials as described above. The hotline will not be able to assist if the call is more than 72 hours or less than 24 hours before the flight is scheduled to leave before the flight is scheduled to leave.
Several Paralyzed Veterans members have used this program with positive results and good things to say about TSA!