Washington – Wyoming Congresswoman and House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) issued the following statement after introducing legislation to make it easier for disabled veterans to travel on commercial airlines with their service dogs:
“I’m proud to introduce the Strengthening Support for Veterans with Service Animals Act to help make it easier for veterans with service-connected disabilities to fly with their service dog,” Rep. Cheney said. “One of the concerns I have heard in Wyoming was that some veterans, particularly those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress, have found it difficult to acquire the paperwork necessary to travel with their service dog. My legislation would address this issue by streamlining and improving the process for a veteran to bring their service dog on a commercial airline flight.”
“I want to thank the veterans of Wyoming who brought this issue to my attention for their efforts to improve the lives of disabled veterans across our country. We owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women who put their lives on the line to defend the freedoms we enjoy as Americans and I will always work to ensure we provide the benefits and care our veterans have earned and deserve.”
Air carriers classify service dogs for mental health disabilities in the same category as psychiatric support animals. As such, airlines require advanced notice and a signed credentials from an individual’s mental health provider prior to the flight. This is all in accordance with the Air Carrier Access Act.
Most veterans seek care from the VA, but the VA doesn’t issue or prescribe service animals. So veterans who wish to pursue a service animal for mental health treatment must do so through a separate organization.
Given this, it’s difficult for veterans to produce these signed credentials required because mental health providers at the VA cannot legally say the animal was issued or prescribed as part of the veteran’s care program.
Rep. Cheney’s proposal will create an additional, streamlined process for veterans to fly on commercial airlines with a service dog. This measure is supported by the American Legion.
The new procedure will simply require the veteran to show:
- A valid and current VA-issued health ID card that contains the “service-connected” disability designation.
- A training certificate or credentials from a service-animal organization vetted and approved by the Secretary of Transportation.