United States Postal Service (USPS)
Regulations 20 CFR 404 and 416; Sections 404.1625 and 416.1025, 404.1632, and 416.1032.
DI 39551.001 Mail and Postage -- DDS
This subchapter provides guidelines on Mail Management , particularly disability determination services (DDS) use of the Federal Indicia (i.e., penalty covers) and the accounting for that use.
2. Mail sampling
Each fiscal year, the USPS specifies certain periods that each Federal Agency is to sample penalty mail.
Penalty mail is official mail, which includes Federal Indicia covers, used for official correspondence by agencies of the U.S. Government, and authorized by the USPS regulations. This includes envelopes, wrappers, labels, and cards.
C. Policy principles
1. Who may use penalty mail
The USPS regulations authorize the following to use penalty covers:
Executive departments and agencies;
Independent establishments of the Government of the United States; and
Organizations and persons performing Federal government activity authorized by law.
NOTE: Authority is extended to the DDS to use penalty covers.
2. When to use penalty mail
Use to transmit official information; and
Use as return-reply (U.S. Government agency addressee) to obtain information elicited for official purposes.
3. Accounting for penalty mail use
All authorized users are required to account for use of all penalty covers as well as all other postal services used in the conduct of Government programs-related activity.
D. Operating policy
1. When penalty mail may be used
DDSs may use the penalty covers to mail:
Official information to SSA; and
Information to claimant's on behalf of SSA using the SSA letterhead.
NOTE:This type of notice does not identify the DDS and the return address is SSA. An example of this is the personalized disability notice prepared by the DDS.
2. Mail sample
Each fiscal year the DDS will conduct quarterly mail sample counts of outgoing penalty mail , according to the USPS specified weight and envelope size mail categories (see Exhibit, DI 39551.201).
SSA will notify the DDSs of the specific sampling periods and provide related instructions and procedures.
Supplemental Mailings (penalty covers for mass mailings) are required to be separately recorded, listed and reported for each calendar quarter (sample period). These mass mailing reports must show the number of mail pieces dispatched by the DDS in each mail category.
NOTE: A mass mailing is a mail dispatch of identical or near identical parcels or envelopes (each under separate cover) to different addressees, all in the same mail category. Usually these items are sent out all in one batch release.
E. Related policy - budgeting
The DDS must budget for and include in its base year expenditures and future year budget estimates such items as:
postage meter charges;
post office box rental;
inprinted stamp envelopes;
registry and special delivery fees;
insurance charges on fourth class mail;
postage due charges;
DDS preaddressed stamped envelopes; and
F. Operating procedures
1. Mail counts
Maintain a daily count of penalty mail during the prescribed sampling period as dispatched to the USPS in the following categories: (See DI 39551.201 for specific details of each category):
Compile the daily totals in each mail category at the end of the sample period.
NOTE: The routine mail(1 week sample period) and the supplemental mail (mass mailings during the entire quarter) are to be separately counted and reported.
Prepare summary for each mail category total in the final report.
NOTE: DDSs with decentralized offices should compile the results for each office and submit a composite report.
3. Examples of how to report various categories dispatched
For envelopes normally used to transmit claims folders (12 “× 16” , and usually weighing less than 2 pounds), report as mail category “EA” .
NOTE: Initial claims folders usually weigh approximately 1 pound (16 ozs.).
For envelopes weighing more than 2 pounds classified in a heavier mail category; i.e., “Light Package” weighing between 2 and 5 pounds (must not exceed 5 pounds), report as category “FA” .
4. Preparing/submitting mail sample reports
Transmit your official mail sampling report by mail or by SSADARS, as soon as possible but not later than the Wednesday following the close of the sample quarter , to the following address and a copy to your SSA regional official mail reports coordinator:
For mail reports:
Social Security Administration
Division of Field Disability Operations
P.O. Box 888
Baltimore, MD 21235
For SSADARS reports:
Official Mail Sampling Reports
Office of Disability
Operations Support Branch
3rd Floor, Operations Building
NOTE: The reporting format described above using double alpha designation to identify mail categories, is suitable for written reports and SSADARS reports. The SSADARS routing indicator for transmitting the sample mail report to SSA central office is RUSAXAH.
If a DDS cannot transmit the mail sample reports due to equipment malfunction, the DDS should mail the report.