August 12, 2020

Senator Hassan Leads NH Congressional Delegation in Calling for Answers on Postal Service Problems

Delegation Shares Stories of Granite Staters Who Have Experienced Delays in Receiving Medication & Other Essential Supplies Amid COVID-19

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen and Representatives Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas are calling for answers on mail delivery concerns that they have heard from Granite Staters.

 

The letter follows recent changes instituted by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who started in his position in May. “We are very concerned about reports of recent policy decisions made at the agency under your tenure, including instructing workers to leave mail behind at distribution centers, restricting transportation practices, and cutting overtime. These harmful policies undermine the fundamental commitment to service on which the USPS was founded,” wrote the Congressional Delegation.

 

In their letter, the Congressional Delegation raised specific concerns that they have heard from constituents, including a veteran who has yet to receive medication that he normally receives by mail. The Congressional Delegation also heard from a postal employee who shared that there have been deliberate delays.

 

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, these issues are even more problematic. One Granite Stater who works at a nursing home and whose wife is pregnant shared, “I consistently do not receive packages through the USPS, including important items to maintain my house with functioning water.” Instead, they have to pick up the package in person, which unnecessarily exposes the family to more individuals amid the pandemic.

 

“Now more than ever, Granite Staters rely on the USPS for critical needs, including medications, food, and benefit payments. For our local businesses, the USPS plays a critical role in their survival, especially as they develop new ways of doing business during the pandemic,” wrote the Congressional Delegation. “We urge you to reverse recent agency policy changes and take steps to improve mail service to communities in New Hampshire and across the country.”

 

You can read the Congressional Delegation’s full letter here or below:

 

Dear Postmaster General DeJoy:

 

We write to express concern about recent service problems at the United States Postal Service (USPS) and to share the troubling testimony we are hearing from constituents.

 

Now more than ever, Granite Staters rely on the USPS for critical needs, including medications, food, and benefit payments. For our local businesses, the USPS plays a critical role in their survival, especially as they develop new ways of doing business during the pandemic.

 

Hardworking postal employees are risking their health to continue to provide critical services for families and businesses in New Hampshire and across the country.

 

However, over the past few months, we have heard from people in New Hampshire about deeply troubling lapses in service, including reports of delayed mail, failures to deliver packages, and other complaints. We are very concerned about reports of recent policy decisions made at the agency under your tenure, including instructing workers to leave mail behind at distribution centers, restricting transportation practices, and cutting overtime. These harmful policies undermine the fundamental commitment to service on which the USPS was founded. For these reasons, we are calling on you to reverse these policies and instead preserve the integrity of the USPS for the health and well-being of all postal customers.

 

Here are three examples that illustrate our concerns: In July, a family shared that they are no longer regularly receiving mail. “Since the new Postmaster General has taken over, our mail delivery seems to be every other day,” they wrote. “We call the post office and have a hard time getting someone to answer the phone. When [we do get someone to answer], they have no answers about service.” In the same month, a postal employee reported to us that mail is piling up due to deliberate delays. “This is sad enough because so many Americans are relying on the USPS and home delivery right now due to COVID-19,” said the employee. In addition, a disabled veteran reported, “I get my meds from the VA [by mail] . . . usually takes a week; been waiting almost a month.”

 

While these are the most recent examples, and speak to policy changes under your leadership, our offices have fielded constituent complaints for months. Delivery issues that were previously an inconvenience have now turned into a health hazard. Many of these reports also detail postal employees forgoing personal protective equipment and requiring at-risk individuals to pick up packages from the post office amid the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.

 

For example, a nursing home care provider who has three children and whose wife is pregnant wrote, “I consistently do not receive packages through the USPS, including important items to maintain my house with functioning water.” Instead of delivering packages even when the family is home, the mail carrier leaves a slip in their mailbox that instructs the family to pick up the package at the post office. “Now in this time of crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is a danger for me, and my family, to be exposed to others,” he said.

 

Another person reported that the USPS has refused to service her address, which forces this person to go to the post office. “As a citizen over 60, with pandemic instructions from government officials to stay home, I feel my health and safety are being compromised by the lack of USPS service to my house.” Similarly, the post office could not provide consistent delivery service to another person who wrote, “I am afraid to order my asthma medication by mail and I am forced to go to a public pharmacy to get my prescription filled during the pandemic. As I am considered high-risk, this is extremely stressful.” She concluded, “I have attempted to follow-up with the Postmaster General [through an] online complaint and have gotten no response.”

 

We understand the budget constraints currently facing the USPS, and we continue to work to support congressional assistance for the agency in its time of financial hardship. However, we urge you to reverse recent agency policy changes and take steps to improve mail service to communities in New Hampshire and across the country.

 

We appreciate your attention to these concerns and look forward to your response.

 

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