Last week, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced it will issue the first of five new semi-postal stamps in November.
The U.S. Semipostal Authorization Act (public law 106-253) grants the USPS discretionary authority to issue and sell semi-postal stamps to advance such causes as it considers to be ‘‘in the national public interest and appropriate.’’ Under the semi-postal discretionary program, the postal service will issue five stamps over a 10-year period with each stamp to be sold for no more than two years.
The first stamp issued will raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, which will be followed by a post-traumatic stress disorder semi-postal stamp in 2019. The next three discretionary semi-postal stamps are still undetermined.
The U.S. Alzheimer’s semi-postal stamp will be issued during National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Net proceeds will be distributed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Details on issuance date and location will be provided soon.
Former U.S. president Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in 1983. At the time, fewer than two million Americans were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Today, that number has soared to nearly 5.4 million.
Following the postal service’s recent announcement, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) applauded the decision to raise awareness and funds for the five million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. The AFA is a long-time advocate for the issuance of a stamp to raise Alzheimer’s awareness and support research efforts to find a cure for the disease, which is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.
“AFA has been calling for this step for years, and it’s wonderful to see the Postal Service take action to benefit the millions of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s,” said Charles Fuschillo Jr., AFA president and CEO. “Not only will this new stamp help raise awareness about Alzheimer’s, it will invest additional, desperately needed research funding that will help bring us one step closer to a cure for this terrible disease. We thank the United States Postal Service, as well as Representatives Maxine Waters and Elijah Cummings who worked to make this stamp a reality.”
U.S. SEMI-POSTAL STAMPS
Semi-postal stamps, currently sold for 60 cents USD, are U.S. first-class mail (FCM) stamps issued and sold at a price above the FCM single-piece one-ounce stamp rate (FCM rate) to raise funds for designated causes.
The difference between the FCM rate in effect at the time of purchase and the 60 cent purchase price, minus an amount to offset costs incurred by the postal service, if any, is contributed to the specific cause by law.
The USPS currently has two 60-cent semi-postal stamps available for purchase at post offices, online at The Postal Store, and by toll-free phone order at 1-800 STAMP-24. These semi-postals include the Breast Cancer Research stamp and the Save Vanishing Species stamp.
The Breast Cancer Research semipostal was issued on July 29, 1998, at a first-day ceremony held at the White House. It was the first semi-postal in U.S. history and has since raised more than $84.7 million USD for breast cancer research. By law, 70 per cent of the net amount raised is given to the National Institutes of Health and 30 per cent is given to the Medical Research Program at the Department of Defense.
The Save Vanishing Species semi-postal was issued on Sept. 30, 2011 at a first-day ceremony held at the Louisville Zoo. The fourth semi-postal in U.S. history, it has since raised more than $4.2 million to help protect threatened and vanishing species. By law, 100 per cent of the net amount raised is transferred to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the Multinational Species Conservation Funds.