Domestic Mail Manual - See. E040
Issue 48, 01-01-95


Section E040. Free Matter for the Blind and Other Handicapped Persons

1.0 Basic Information
1.1 General
Subject to the standards below, matter mailed by or for the use of blind or other handicapped persons may be mailed free of postage. The provisions of E040 apply to domestic mail only. 1.2 Classification Matter mailed free under this standard is not considered part of any particular class of mail and is not protected against postal inspection. This matter is treated as First-Class Mail for the exclusive purposes of determining appropriate standards for processing and delivery and for handling if undeliverable. 1.3 Definitions For purposes of this standard: a. “Blind or other handicapped persons” are those who cannot read or use conventionally printed material because of a physical impairment and who are certified by a competent authority as unable to read normal reading material. b. “Competent authority” includes any licensed medical doctor, ophthalmologist, optometrist, registered nurse, or professional staff member of a hospital or other institution or agency. 1.4 List of qualified Individuals To assist in deciding eligibility to mail material under this standard, postmasters establish and maintain USPS 010.060 (See Privacy Act System of Records, Administrative Support Manual, Appendix) as a record of their customers who are blind or handicapped. Conditions that apply to this record include: a. The postmaster may require, and include as part of the record, a statement by a competent authority certifying that the individual is unable to read conventionally printed material. b. Customers may determine whether they are recorded as a blind or other handicapped person by contacting the postmaster, giving their full name and address. c. Customers may be added to the postmaster's record by submitting their respective names and addresses with a written statement of certification by a competent authority. d. Based on personal knowledge about a customer, and without requiring a written statement of certification, the postmaster may include that individual on the record and may extend to that individual mailing privileges under this standard. 2.0 Matter Sent to Blind or Other Handicapped Persons 2.1 Acceptable Matter Subject to 2.2, this matter may be mailed free: a. Reading matter and musical scores. b. Sound reproductions. c. Paper records, tapes, and other material for the production of reading matter, musical scores or sound reproductions. d. Reproducers or parts of them for sound reproductions. Braille writers, typewriters, educational or other materials or devices, or parts thereof, used for writing by, or designed or adapted for use of, a blind person or a person who has a physical impairment as described in 1.3. 2.2 Conditions The matter listed in 2.1 must meet these conditions: a. The matter must be for the use of a blind or other handicapped person. b. Either no charge, rental, subscription, or other fee is required for this matter; or, if required, may not exceed the cost of the item. c. The matter may be opened and inspected by the USPS. d. The matter contains no advertising. 2.3 Letters from Sighted Letters prepared in any form by sighted individuals, to be sent to a blind or other handicapped person, or empty shipping materials for mailing matter described in this section, cannot be sent free and must bear the full applicable postage. 3.0 Matter Sent by Blind or Other Handicapped Persons 3.1 Acceptable Letters Only letters in raised characters or in sightsaving type (i.e., 14-point or larger) or in the form of sound recordings may be mailed free, and only if unsealed and sent by a blind or other physically handicapped person. 3.2 Other Letters Letters that are handwritten, or printed or typed in a type size smaller than 14 points, cannot be sent free. These letters must bear the full applicable postage. 4.0 Preparation 4.1 Required All matter mailed under this standard: a. Must be marked “Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped” in the upper right corner of the address side. b. Must meet the minimum and maximum dimensions in CO IO and C400, respectively. c. Is subject to the mailability standards in C020, C030, and C040. 4.2 Optional Matter mailed under this standard may be insured on paying the appropriate insurance fee. No other special services are available unless the sender pays all postage and special service fees. No other special services are available unless the sender pays all postage and special service fees applicable to the class of mail selected.