PORTLAND, Ore. — It's day 27 of the government shutdown, which means TSA workers at airports nationwide are on their fourth week of working without pay.
Hundreds of well-meaning passengers have been asking online if they can buy restaurant gift cards or food for the agents, who are feeling the financial pinch of the shutdown.
We wanted to Verify: Can I give TSA workers cash, gift cards or food?
Our source is Thomas Kelly, a spokesperson with the TSA's Office of Public Affairs.
Federal workers are not allowed to accept gifts, but there are a few exceptions, like non-cash gifts worth under $20.
However, Kelly specifically told us TSA agents cannot accept gifts of any kind at the airport from travelers.
Officers are not allowed to accept cash, gift cards, or gifts at screening locations because doing so could distract them or create the appearance of favoritism.
Kelly said the public's good intentions are not going unnoticed.
“[TSA agents] are grateful for everyone’s gratitude. It makes a difference. Public support from passengers, industry groups, and community organizations underscores the importance of TSA’s work in securing aviation.”
Additionally, agents cannot accept donations unless they're being distributed to all federal employees. This is why a donation bin that's been placed at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is allowed: the donations are being distributed among all federal employees at the airport.
We can Verify: You are not allowed to give TSA agents cash, gift cards or food while they're on the job.