Would you pay more for a postage stamp if the extra money went to support a cause you consider important? Many people would, and do. It’s the idea behind semipostal stamps. You may be familiar with the Breast Cancer Research semipostal stamp, but might not know about its history or the semipostal stamp concept.

The U.S. Postal Service sells semipostal stamps with a surcharge to raise funds for a specific cause. Congress can authorize a semipostal stamp through legislation, like the breast cancer stamp, or the Postal Service can introduce one. There have only been four total in the history of the program, which started in 1997 after Congress passed a law directing the Postal Service to issue the Breast Cancer Research stamp. 

Today, semipostal stamps sell for 60 cents, or 11 cents above the full First-Class stamp price. The Postal Service transfers revenues from the sale of semipostals – minus postage and a reasonable reimbursement of costs – to a selected agency or agencies. For the breast cancer stamp, which recently got reauthorized when President Obama signed into law the Breast Cancer Research Stamp Reauthorization Act, which means 70 percent of the net amount raised is given to the National Institutes of Health and 30 percent is given to the Medical Research Program at the Department of Defense. As of August 2015, the breast cancer stamp raised over $80.9 million for breast cancer research. 

The Postal Service recently proposed some changes to how it issues semipostal stamps, including clarifying what the cap is on the number of semipostals being sold at the same time. Previous regulations limited the Postal Service to one semipostal in circulation at a time. The January 22 Federal Register notice draws a distinction between congressionally directed semipostals (like the breast cancer one) and those approved by the Postal Service, which it calls “discretionary” stamps. The Postal Service intends to sell discretionary semipostal stamps only one at a time but they could be sold with one or more congressionally approved semipostal stamps.

What do you think of the idea of semipostal stamps? Have you ever bought one? What cause would you choose to see supported by a semipostal stamp? 

Comments (426)

  • anon

    Alzheimer's stamp please.

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    an Alzheimer stamp would be so awesome . so many lives are affected by this disease!

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    There MUST be an Alzheimer's stamp!!!! This insidious disease has no cure and more research dollars are desperately needed NOW!

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    This affects aloof families! Would definitely pay extra to support this cause!!

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    We honor many other causes via U.S. Stamps .. Alzheimer's is now one of the leading causes of death in this country ... we need a stamp to help promote more awareness to help find a cure!

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    Please let's stamp out Alzheimer's. its time!

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    In support of Alzheimer's stamp to help fund research

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    Great way to raise awareness! Please make a semi postal stamp for Alzheimer's and encourage retailers who sell stamps (like grocery stores) to carry them so the general public can have easier access. Research is essential to finding a cure for this devastating disease. Thank you!

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    A stamp for Alzheimer's Research is needed to help stamp out this ugly disease.

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    Alzheimers has impacted several generations of my family - as it has and is impacting so many families. With someone in the world being diagnosed every 7 seconds, we need to do all we can to raise awareness and funds for research

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    Please include a stamp for Alzheimer's awareness and research. I would make it the only stamp I used!

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    My mother has Alzheimer disease and there is little hope on the horizon for her. But funding more research will provide necessary hope for the next generations, including mine, my daughter's, and her children's generation who will face this debilitating disease.

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    i support the Alzheimer's Assocition because #alzkills and we need to find a cure.

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    I think you should make a semi postal stamp for Alzheimer's. We need a cure!!

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    Please approve the Alzheimer's semipostal stamp. I support this stamp.

    Jul 05, 2016
  • anon

    Please help us stamp out this disease by passing the new stamp. My baby sister is in the sixth stage, of seven stages, of early onset ALZ, at 57 years old... We need more research because this is happening to even younger people worldwide!! Thank you!

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    My family and I support a stamp to help fund research to find a cure for Alzheimer's Disease. #ENDALZ

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    I would support an Alzheimers research stamp. My grandfather has this horrible disease and I would like Alzheimers research to be funded through a semipostal stamp.

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    My Dad has Alzheimer's! PLEASE MAKE THESE STAMPS. We need more funding for research ! I will definitely buy the stamps!!

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    Lets stamp out Alzheimer's. I support this stamp!! Lets make it happen!!

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    Lets stamp Alzheimer's. I want this stamp to happen!

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    I support a stamp Alzheimer's stamp. I lost my dad to this terrible disease.

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    I would definitely spend more for a stamp that helps to fund finding a cure! Alzheimer's Alzheimer's has affected my family personally and I find the lack of funding for research sad and disheartening. This disease not only effects the person with it but family and friends as well.

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    I support this Alzheimer's Stamp to help fund research to find a cure. The statistics on how this disease will affect our country both by those who will have Alzheimer's and the cost of caring for those with Alzheimer's or other Dementias is staggering. We MUST educate people but more importantly we MUST find a cure and the only way to do that is to fund the research.

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    A wonderful stamp that will help towards showing awareness. I would buy these stamps a brilliant way to reach the people out there .

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    Please. We need to find a cure. I dob't mind paying more for a stamp.

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    Please make an Alzheimer's stamp.

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    Alzheimer's disease deserves nation wide attention. Not enough funding for this debilitating disease. Members of my family have been stricken with Alzheimer's. Let's hope there is a future cure for my children.

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    I strongly urge you to consider the Ahlzeimers stamp!

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    I would absolutely buy an Alzheimers stamp. Please do this!

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    I fully support this terrific idea of fundraising as it would bring awareness nationally. We are losing too many loved ones, one memory at a time. It's time for a cure.

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    I wait with bated breath - would absolutely love to see a semi-postal for Alzheimer's Disease. We so need the funding to find a cure before our grandchildren go through this suffering. No-one can understand how hard this is for the person and their families unless they have gone through it and sat beside a loved one for weeks watching them slowly die, unable to walk, eat of drink until they receive their final blessing and are released from the pain. Please let's see this stamp quickly!

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    I support the stamp for Alzheimer's disease. Anything which raises profile and increased funding is good

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    I support stamp for Alzheimers research

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    I support raising awareness and funds for Alzheimer's and Dementia!

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    Let's stamp out dementia and Alzheimer's! Set up a semi-postal stamp for this, please.

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    I support this noble effort of the USPS!

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    Yes Yes YES...what an easy way to help fund a very serious disease. With the baby boomers aging, we need the research in this very important area. Help Stamp out Alzheimer's! I am in!

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    Alzheimer'S Disease needs funding to find a cure in my lifetime. Please consider a stamp!

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    I have purchased the breast Cancer stamps and would purchase Alzheimer's disease stamps. This horrible disease needs more support. Thanks.

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    DEAR USPS, I support an Alzheimer's semi-postal stamp!

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    Just saw the Alzheimer's stamp. What an amazing way to promote awareness and raise funds for this god awful disease!!!!

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    Please consider an Alzheimers/ dementia stamp. We need help in getting out the word about how these diseases are affecting every 1 out of 4 people in America

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    Please consider a stamp to help with a cure for Alzheimer's, no one knows this awful disease until they have a love one with it

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    Would love to see an Alzheimer's stamp to benefit finding a cure for this cruel disease that wreaks havoc on entire families

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    I lost my Dad last November to Alzheimer's...there is simply no way to understand how cruel and heartbreaking this disease is unless you have been through it. Funding is desperately needed for research! An Alzheimer's postage stamp would be a great way to not only fund research but also raise awareness! I support thirds wholeheartedly!

    Jul 04, 2016
  • anon

    I am a supporter of the Alzheimer's stamp which will contribute to a cure of this devastating disease.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I am a 16 year postal employee, I recently lost my Mom to Alzheimer's. I would gladly pay more for a stamp to help raise money to find a cure for this HORRIBLE deadly disease.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I support The Alzheimers Stamp...In the. Memory of my mother Marjorie Evans who did not deserve to suffer her last years with this disease. Too many families are suffering in silence and loss dealing with caregiving and loss of thier cherished Mothers, Fathers, Sons, Daughters, Gramas, Grandfathers, frlends our neighbors. The bodies illness is bad enough but to watch them forget everything near and dear.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    i would like alzheimers stamp as my mam has it

    Jul 03, 2016

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