Washington D.C.— Today, Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet and Congressman Joe Neguse wrote to President Biden and U.S Postmaster General DeJoy, requesting that government-provided free at-home COVID-19 test kits be extended to include Americans that receive mail from a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRAs). CMRAs are privately-owned businesses that accept mail from the United States Postal Service on behalf of third-party individuals; including local UPS stores and are utilized by rural communities.
The Biden Administration announced the at-home test delivery program in January, allotting four tests to every household in the United States. A second round of deliveries was announced on March 1, 2022. Individuals ordering tests are able to do so with a residential address, but requests cannot be fulfilled for interested parties using a mailing address associated with a CMRA – although mail is delivered to CMRAs via the USPS on a day-to-day basis.
“USPS has stated that these at-home test kits are only available to ‘residential addresses and residential PO Boxes.’ We understand the intent behind this decision is to make the distribution of the tests fair and equitable and to ensure that individuals do not obtain more tests than to which they are entitled. The policy, however, creates an unnecessary barrier to a significant number of people who do not receive mail at either of those listed locations.” reads the letter from Hickenlooper, Bennet, and Neguse.
Read the full letter here and below:
March 10, 2022
Dear President Biden and Postmaster General DeJoy:
We would like to thank you for increasing access to free COVID-19 testing by sending at-home test kits to households across the nation through the United States Postal Service (USPS), which helps to keep our communities safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are hearing concerns about the distribution of the testing kits to rural households through Commercial Mail Receiving Agencies (CMRAs). CMRAs, such as local UPS stores, are currently unable to receive test kits. We urge you to consider expanding the current criteria to allow for residents who use CMRAs for their regular mail delivery to access the free testing program.
The USPS defines a CMRA as a private business that accepts mail from the postal service. Many of our constituents in mountain communities are not given access to street delivery, and therefore choose to receive their mail at a UPS store or other CMRA. Prohibiting CMRAs from accepting test kits is especially detrimental in mountain and rural communities where other testing options are generally less available.
USPS has stated that these at-home test kits are only available to “residential addresses and residential PO Boxes.” We understand the intent behind this decision is to make the distribution of the tests fair and equitable and to ensure that individuals do not obtain more tests than to which they are entitled. The policy, however, creates an unnecessary barrier to a significant number of people who do not receive mail at either of those listed locations.
As we continue to work to end this pandemic, we would like to ensure that all households have equal access to this important testing program. Our nation’s public health depends on nothing less. Accordingly, we urge the Administration to expand its guidelines to account for those who receive their mail at CMRAs.
Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to working with you.