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

    Please create a semi postal stamp for Alzheimer's research. My Mom, Margaret Z, died this past Friday after living 8+years with Alzheimer's. Thank you.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Alzheimer's stamp!!!! No doubt! It must be purple too!!! lol

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I 100% support the Alzheimer's Stamp. I lost my mother to this terrible disease along with her two brothers and sister.. we need to spread awareness.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    We need to be able to put our stamps in circulation! We want to stamp out Alzheimer's!

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I support a stamp to help raise awareness and research funds to prevent and cure Alzheimer's.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I would pay more for this stamp. There is a stamp for everything else it's about time there be one for Alzheimer's. There is so little funding for this disease because no one has ever been cured of it. Maybe this would be a way to generate more monies toward research.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I think this is a great idea that could help the cause.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Please approve a stamp like you did for breast cancer. Alzheimer/Dementia is reaching epidemic proporations and robbing us of our loved ones. everyday and younger and younger are being diagnosed with this ugly disease. With cancer, at least we stand a chance once it is found and the protocol /surgery/treatment is followed. Once you are diagnosed with Alzheimer/Dementia, there is NO CURE as you cannot live with out the brain which keeps shrinking and dying just as our life and memory for loved one is doing. PLEASE approve a stamp that will raise money to help us find a cure NOW. Thank you

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I support a stamp to raise awareness and money to combat Alzheimer's Disease. This is a frightening and devastating disease that has enormous cost implications, including for individuals. Both my parents suffered from the disease...one for a few years and the other for a staggering 20 years! They both died from it.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Absolutely, yes! Why stop at semi postal . Let's go for the whole enchilada!

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    We are in desperate need of more understanding and treatment with Alzheimer's disease. It may be too late for my mom with stage 7 but this horrible disease needs to be prevented and cured for future generations. If there is an AD stamp I will buy them each and every time.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    A stamp supporting Alzheimer's research would honor my beloved Father.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Awareness is needed...this diseasetakes too many.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Please offer a postal stamp to benefit Alzheimers research! This disease is a growing concern with so many affected! A cure is desperately need! Thank you.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I totally support this stamp. Anything we can do in the name of Alzheimer's is important!

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Please consider a stamp to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer's.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Please please issue an Alzheimer's semi postal stamp. I would purchase enough to last the rest of my life. Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    What a beautiful way to STAMP out Alzheimer's and spread awareness!!! I support the Semi - Postal Stamp for Alzheimer's to help generate funding for Alzheimer's Research and find a cure!!! :)

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Love love this idea, excellent idea...

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Yes, let's see it happen, and soon, every 66 seconds someone develops Alzheimer's. More funding for research concerning this devastating disease, this is a great idea! "END ALZ'S "

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Please sell these stamps!

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Please support the Alzheimer's stamp. This disease is a true tragedy for millions of Americans and their families. It is the only leading cause of death in the US that we do not have any way to prevent, treat, cure or even slow down its progression. Please help this under-funded cause.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I definitely support this stamp to fund the research to find information on preventing and curing alzheimers. It is not something that anyone and their loved ones should have to go through.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I would like to see an Alzheimer's stamp to raise awareness to this horrible disease.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    We need this stamp to help find a cure for the horrible disease, I see my mother struggle every day with this disease. Please do the stamp so we can have funding to find a cure

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    This pandemic must be eradicated. We are on the cusp of making huge progress. Almost everyone of us is touched by this horrific disease; either we have it or live with someone who is afflicted. We all are financially touched by what this disease is costing in medical care alone! Please won't you allow us to get even closer to the cure? Thank you.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I support Alzhiemer stamp, to help fund for research. We must find a cure for this terrible disease, the long goodbye. My mom passed away 1 year ago, mother & father in law also suffered with it. Let's find the cure.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    This stamp can help raise the awareness of Awareness of Alzheimer/Dementia. The more people see the words Alheimer/Dementia the more questions may be asked. More research needs to be done NOW! The unknown of these diseases must stop now. As of 2015, per the ALZ.ORG website, every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. develops this disease. 18.1 Billion, yes billion, hours of unpaid care is given to an Alzheimer/Dementia patient. Research and Awareness need to GROW!

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    It's about time! We need funding for this horrible disease! t doesn't just rob the victim, but the caregivers as well.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Let's End Alzheimer together. By issuing get stamps, we can educate more people about this dreadful disease.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Please create a stamp to help fund Alzheimer's awareness and research.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I would pay more for an Alzheimers stamp and I would buy them every time I needed stamps.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Please create a semi postal stamp to support Alzheimer's Research.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    My Dad has Alzheimer's I know it's too late to help him but with this stamp we can help others be awhere of the awful Alztimers

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    We need to raise awareness and find immediate help for families cari g for loved ones, while we continue research. This will help. Why is there even a question when this disease will bankrupt healthcare in a few years.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Please create a stamp for Alzheimer's..we need t find a cure for this devastating disease... I definitely support an Alzheimer's stamp...

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    This is a valuable awareness tool as well as a good way to help get rig of the stigma attached to this disease. Please push forward with this stamp.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I support the ALZ stamp. My grandfather had it and passed away from it.... Would love to see more funds research and testing .

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    We need to support Alzheimer's research to find medicine and cure. Please help the thousands going through this disease.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Alzheimer's is the worst disease someone could have please help by making a stamp that will help find a cure

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Alzheimers and other dementias affect so many, and increase every year. A stamp will not only raise funds and awareness, but also acknowledge the struggles of so many individuals and their families and friends.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Alzheimer's awareness, because EVERYONE will know someone who develops this disease and the long, tragic outcome which is a slow death.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I am definitely in favor of paying more for a semipostal stamp. The cause I would support is ALZHEIMERS. We are personally dealing with it and praying for a treatment of cure.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I would love a semi-stamp for Alzheimer's/dementia, as it steals away so many good years from the end of so many people's lives. Please help us to stamp out dementia!

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I support the idea of an Alzheimer's stamp. We need to raise public awareness of this terrible disease. More money for research is needed to help find a cure. Caring for a loved one with this disease is not only devastating to the family, but mentally, emotionally and financially draining on the caregiver.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I think that the Alzheimer's stamp would be a wonderful way for people to support this cause. My mom had Alzheimer's and I wish this stamp was around years ago. What a great help for this cause

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    Implementing this stamp will help an untold number of people enjoy a happier life if it leads to a cure. Please do this!

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I support a stamp 100% for Alzheimer's & Awareness. #EndAlz.

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I support this stamp 100% as this devastating disease needs a cure, and we need to educate the public to illuminate all the aspects people currently do not understand about it

    Jul 03, 2016
  • anon

    I support this Alzheimer's Stamp to help fund research to find a cure.

    Jul 03, 2016

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