Miss. Senator Part of Bipartisan Push for Independent Investigation into USPS Delivery of Free Materials for the Blind & Physically Handicapped

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Persistent delays in delivering critical mail for the blind and physically handicapped have prompted U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and colleagues to request an investigation of U.S. Postal Service compliance with a federally-funded free mail delivery service.

Hyde-Smith and U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) issued a letter to USPS Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb requesting an investigation into the USPS Free Matter for the Blind or Other Physically Handicapped Persons program.  Congress funds the program to deliver Braille readers and other equipment as First Class Mail free of charge.

“According to the National Federation of the Blind, these delays are a widespread problem that, ‘not only has a detrimental effect on the lives of blind and print-disabled Americans, but is also creating a loss of taxpayer dollars since digital players, Braille displays, and other valuable equipment are stuck in the post office, never reaching the people who need it,’” the Senators wrote to Whitcomb.

“For those reasons, we ask that you review the procedures used by USPS to accept, process, and deliver Free Matter for the Blind or Other Physically Handicapped Persons, and provide recommendations to fix any problems identified by that review,” they said.

Van Hollen chairs the Senate Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Subcommittee on which Hyde-Smith serves as the ranking member.  Peters chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee where Portman is the ranking member.  Both panels have jurisdiction over USPS services.

The letter focuses on the hardships experienced by Rania Dima of Maryland, who testified at a FSGG hearing last year on USPS service issues, telling the panel, “From my perspective, the federal, state and private agencies that support me are being thwarted, and I feel marginalized when free matter for the blind suffers prolonged delays that regular mail does not.”

Read the Senators’ letter to the USPS Inspector General here.