It’s time to break out the envelopes, especially if you enjoy supporting a great cause. The United States Postal Service is set to release a semipostal Alzheimer stamp next month that will raise money to fight the degenerative brain disease.
The release, which was announced Oct. 2, coincides with National Alzheimer’s Month. Authorized by the Postal Service’s semipostal discretionary program, the Alzheimer stamp is the first of five semipostal stamps that will be made available over the next 10 years. Each of the stamps will be sold for no more than a two years. A Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Stamp is expected to be released in 2019.
What Does the Semipostal Look Like?
The Alzheimer’s stamp is striking and pays homage to both those with the disease and their caregivers.
The stamp’s image is a simple one: An older person is in profile while the hand of their caregiver rests gently on their shoulder, signifying that Alzheimer’s patients do not fight the disease by themselves.
Supporting Alzheimer’s Awareness
November was designated as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. Today, more than 5 million Americans are living with the disease, which causes memory loss.
The stamp is expected to build public awareness about the disease and other related dementia’s, as well as fund medical research to find a cure.
This is not the first time the United States Postal Service has recognized Alzheimer’s awareness with a stamp. In 2008, the USPS issued an Alzheimer’s Awareness stamp, but it did not raise money to find a cure for the disease, as the semipostal will.
Short History of Fundraising Semipostal Stamps
Semipostal stamps are valid for first-class mail in the United States and are currently available for 60 cents each. First-class stamps currently sell for 49 cents. The additional funds raised by a semipostal stamp, known as a surtax, are given to its designated cause.
The Semipostal Authorization Act gives the Postal Service the authority to issue the stamp. The United States Postal Service does not receive any tax dollars to cover its operating expenses. Instead, it counts on the sale of postage stamps, other products and services it provides to cover its operating costs.
The stamp is the fifth semipostal to be released by the USPS. The first semipostal supported breast cancer research and was distributed in 1998. That was followed by a Heroes of 2001, released in 2002; a Stop Family Violence semipostal in 2003 and a Save The Vanishing Species semipostal in 2011. Each of those semipostals was issued after Congress passed a law okaying them that was signed off by the president.
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Proceeds from the sale of the Alzheimer stamp will be distributed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The stamp will be available for purchase at all Post Offices, at usps.com, or by calling 1-800-STAMP24.
Alzheimer’s research advocates and patient advocacy groups have already begun a campaign using social media and other outlets urging the public to purchase the stamp.