Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TSA Disability Accommodations


People with disabilities are entitled to accommodations per the Transportation Security Administration Disability Policies  during security screening procedures at airports, yet there are an incredible number of violations by airport security staff of TSA Disability Policies every year.  These violation have included: forcing people out of their wheel chairs, forcing children with mobility disabilities to abandon their walkers, separating people who are blind from their service animals, and many more.

Here are some suggestions, links, and contact information so that people with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities can know their rights, how to avoid problems during security screening, and how to report violations of the ADA and Transportation Security Administration Disability Policies.

Please take note of, distribute, and post this contact information for any persons with disabilities who may wish to file a disability based civil rights claim regarding their airport security screening experience. Such claims may be filed with:
Rhonda Basha, JD
Director, Office of Disability Policy and Outreach
Office of the Special Counselor
Transportation Security Administration
Emial: Rhonda.Basha@dhs.gov
Phone 571 227 5038

The Transportation Security Administration Policies for Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions are at: 

On the lower part of the main page there are links for the specific accommodations for different kinds of disabilities, children with disabilities, assistive devices and mobility aids, service animals, medical conditions and special situations, as well as a list of disability-related items permitted through the security checkpoints.

Also note the information on toiletries, prescription liquid medications and other liquids needed by persons with disabilities and medical conditions found on the link on the main page to the letter:
Changes in Allowances for Persons with Disabilities at Airport Security Checkpoints

This letter states : "Passengers will still be required to remove their shoes as part of the screening process,
however, persons with disabilities, medical conditions, and prosthetic devices DO NOT have to remove their shoes. Those who keep their shoes on will be subjected to additional screening that includes a visual/physical and explosive trace detection sampling of their footwear while the footwear remains on their feet. "

The following links with information for preparations for security screening are found on the main page as well :
Before You Go
Tips For The Screening Process

Personally, I would recommend printing out the policies which pertain to your particular needs and accommodations and carrying a copy of them with you so that you can show staff what accommodations the policies allow, should you encounter problems.  I would also recommend printing out the contact information for filing a complaint and get staff identification information if you feel that your rights have been violated.

I would also recommend advising security staff even before arriving at the screener and x-ray station that you need disability or medical accommodations during the security screening process.  Be sure to tell them before the process actually begins and items are put through the x-ray that you need accommodations.

If you are having any difficulties with the TSA you can also contact:
The TSA Ombudsman's Office at:

If you have additional concerns or questions contact
TSA's Contact Center:
E-mail-   tsa-contactcenter@dhs.gov
Phone-   1-866-289-9673

For concerns about potential civil rights violations contact
TSA's Office of Civil Rights:
Toll-free -  1-877-336-4872
TTY - 800-877-8339
E-mail -   tsa-contactcenter@dhs.gov

For information about overall air travel accessibility:
DOT Air Carrier Access Hotline
Toll-free -  1-800-778-4838
Internet -  http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/

Compiled and shared courtesy of:
James C. "Jake" Billingsley

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