People in Oregon and around the country who receive benefits for Social Security disability know that what might be otherwise ordinary activities can be made much more difficult by a lack of understanding among other people. One such example is air travel.
While few people would describe the process of clearing airport security as simple in the wake of 9/11 and incidents since then, but people with special needs often find themselves more inconvenienced than most. And when it takes longer for one person to be screened, it can have a ripple effect on the rest of the line — possibly leading to impatient travelers who are more interested in making their flights on time than making sure a disabled passenger is treated with respect and dignity.
The Transportation Security Administration, which is responsible for airport security, recognizes this — though it took an embarrassing incident of TSA agents being insensitive to a young girl in a wheelchair to spur the change. The agency has trained thousands of its workers as passenger screening specialists who are can help people who have specific needs. The goal is to have such an agent nearby as many airport checkpoints as possible.
In order to assist the process, officials from the TSA did say that people who know they will need extra assistance should get to the airport early and notify personnel as soon as possible that they would like the assistance. While this does not exactly put people with disabilities on a level playing field, it does ease some of the burden those people might otherwise face.
Source: Disability Scoop, “TSA Offers Extra Help For Travelers With Special Needs,” Shaun Heasley, March 5, 2013