– Free Matter for
the Blind or Handicapped
Updated October 1996
This Customer Support Ruling
discusses the minimum type size for material mailable as Free Matter
for the Blind and Other Physically Handicapped Persons.
Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 703.5.3, provides that unsealed letters sent by a blind person or
a person having a physical impairment, as described in DMM
703.5.1.3, in raised characters (braille) or in 14 point or larger
sight saving type or in the form of sound recordings may be mailed
as Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped.
The minimum size requirement of 14
point type was established administratively as a guide to mailers
since the law itself simply stipulated "Sightsaving Type" as the
requirement. In August 1970, when the 14 point type was adopted by
the Postal Service as the minimum size for sightsaving type, 18
point type was actually the most widely used for reading matter
printed for the use of blind and other handicapped persons, and
distributed by various service organizations including the Library
of Congress. The 14 point minimum was adopted as an acceptable
compromise. The Postal Service is without authority to unilaterally
waive the provisions of the law which calls for "Sightsaving Type".
A waiver of the 14 point minimum guideline would, likewise, not be
type for printing or typewriting is measured by its height, in
points, 72 points to the inch. Accordingly, 14 point type is just
over 3/16 of an inch, but under 13/64 of an inch - to be exact, it
measures 25/128 of an inch.
Anita J. Bizzotto
United States Postal Service
Washington DC 20260-3436