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Customer Support Ruling


Unsealed Letters Sent by Blind or Handicapped Persons
Updated October 1996

PS-254 (703.5)

This Customer Support Ruling discusses the requirements for unsealed letters sent by blind or other handicapped persons.

Under the provisions of Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 703.5.3.1 and 703.5.3.2, unsealed letters in raised characters (Braille), in 14-point or larger sightsaving type, or in the form of sound recordings may be mailed free of postage by a blind person or a physically handicapped person who cannot use or read conventionally printed material.  Such letters may be mailed to sighted persons, visually impaired persons, and to blind persons.  No provision is made for letters prepared by handwriting or by a conventional typewriter to be mailed without proper payment of postage at the First-Class Mail postage rate.  Also, no provision is made for letters prepared in any form (including sound recordings) by sighted individuals to be mailed to the blind or physically handicapped without the proper prepayment of postage at the applicable rate.

In view of the foregoing, when a certified blind (or physically handicapped) person mails letters under cover (that were mailed to him) which are handwritten, printed or typed in a type size smaller than 14-point to a sighted person who will record the contents on a cassette tape, the blind person must pay the appropriate amount of postage for the mailing of those letters.  Since a sighted person may not mail letters in any form free of postage, the cassette tapes containing recordings of the contents of the letters may not be sent free of postage by the sighted person to the blind person under the provisions of DMM 703.5.  The appropriate amount of postage must be paid for the mailing of those tapes.

The postal regulations do not require that the addresses on the envelopes in which letters are mailed free of postage be prepared in Braille or in 14-point or larger sightsaving type.  DMM 703.5.3.1 only requires that the envelopes be unsealed.  The addresses on such envelopes may be prepared by any appropriate means including handwriting or ordinary typewriting.

Greeting cards are not mailable, postage free, under the provisions of DMM 703.5.  Postage at the applicable First-Class Mail rate must be paid for the mailing of such cards.

Anita J. Bizzotto
Mailing Standards
United States Postal Service
Washington DC 20260-3436