Background

Free Matter for the Blind or Other Physically Handicapped Persons (Free Matter) is a legally mandated program that allows eligible participants to receive and send mail for free. Mail that qualifies as Free Matter includes large-type (14-point or larger) documents, braille, audio recordings, and talking book players. When Free Matter is mailed domestically, it should be treated as First‑Class Mail for processing and service measurement. U.S. Postal Service regulations also require packaging to remain unsealed to facilitate inspection by Postal Service employees to ensure the mailpieces qualify for postage-free mailing. The Postal Service is reimbursed the cost of delivering Free Matter through congressional appropriations every year.

What We Did

The objective of the audit is to review Postal Service procedures for the acceptance, handling, and delivery of Free Matter. This report responds to a congressional request. For this audit, we interviewed stakeholders who rely on the Free Matter program, observed activity at the Baltimore Processing and Distribution Center and Linthicum Incoming Mail Facility, tracked shipping details for select Free Matter pieces, conducted a mail test to compare Free Matter and First‑Class Mail service, and reviewed the Postal Service’s and OIG’s customer complaint systems.

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  • anon

    From the Postmaster General: 'Certain types of mail that blind or otherwise visually impaired people are allowed to send and receive for free has declined since 2015. That is an overall finding of our newly released audit report on the U.S. Postal Service’s Free Matter for the Blind program. Find out the reasons for the decline as well as why Congress asked us to review the program.' U know... this just proves why we all think Congress people are idiots. Can you figure out why there's a decline in the use of free mail by blind people? It's called BLIND PEOPLE NOT WANTING TO GO TO THE POST OFFICE, COVID DEATHS, PEOPLE ORDERING STUFF ONLINE INSTEAD OF GETTING OUTDATED CRAP, LISTENING TO AUDIOBOOKS AND WATCHING NETFLIX U DUMMIES! To mail a letter free they have to do it in person, leave the letter open and the USPS worker has to be able to see that the letter is in braille. That's not even worth the aggravation. Of COURSE they aren't doing it and risking monkey pox or whatever fooling with the post office! What a waste of USPS money for this study. Geez Louise.

    Aug 01, 2022