Disabled veterans may soon be able to bypass long airport security lines if a bill introduced in the Senate today becomes law.
The bipartisan legislation would grant TSA PreCheck privileges to veterans who are blind or paralyzed, as well as veteran amputees.
The service allows members to enter an expedited airport security line and pass through without removing shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets. It typically costs $85, but qualifying veterans would get it for free — a benefit already extended to active-duty service members and those in the National Guard and Reserves.
“Millions of veterans have sacrificed a great deal in service to our nation and returned home with service-connected disabilities," Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., said in a news release. “For those of us who rely on prosthetics and wheelchairs for mobility, air travel and passing through airport security can be a challenge.”
Duckworth, a former Army lieutenant colonel and Iraq veteran, is herself a double amputee. She co-sponsored the Veterans Expedited TSA Screening Safe Travel Act with Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind, and said the measure would make the airport experience “a little easier and less intrusive."
According to the Transportation Security Administration website, TSA PreCheck is available at more than 200 airports nationwide, and the vast majority of TSA PreCheck members get through security in five minutes or less.
Under the legislation, the Department of Veterans Affairs would be required to certify that a veteran is eligible for the benefit. Veterans who successfully pass a background check and interview with TSA would be granted TSA PreCheck at no cost.
The legislation is supported by veterans advocacy groups, such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Disabled American Veterans, and the American Legion, but must first gain the approval of the Senate, House of Representatives and President Trump before becoming law.
Natalie Gross has been reporting for Military Times since 2017. She grew up in a military family and has a master's degree in journalism from Georgetown University.