The United States Postal Service has a long tradition of making its way through snowstorms, monsoons, and heat waves to deliver our mail.
Despite budget shake-ups and leadership changes, the USPS reliably gets our letters, packages, and bills to our mailboxes.
But you might be wondering if USPS delivers to your door. Here is what I discovered!
Does USPS Deliver To Door?
Unfortunately, USPS does not deliver to your door, as mail carriers will deposit your mail and any packages that fit into your mailbox. However, if items do not fit, they may be brought to or near your front door. Additionally, USPS offers a “request for an exception to current/proposed delivery mode due to physical hardship” for applicable citizens.
Let’s break down how you can get USPS to deliver to your door, whether or not they will bring mail to your apartment door, and the requirements for hardship delivery. Keep reading for the details!
How Do You Get USPS To Deliver To Your Door?
For some Americans, living with mobility problems means that even getting the mail can be an impossibility.
To get USPS to deliver mail and packages to your door as a regular occurrence, you will have to jump through a few hoops.
First, you must be approved for a Request For Exception To the Current/Proposed Delivery Mode Due To Physical Hardship. (You can find the form here.)
“Physical hardship” is defined by the USPS as “an illness or handicap which would present a physical challenge for an individual to retrieve mail.”
Examples might include a mailbox that is on the opposite side of the road from the house, across a busy street, for someone in a wheelchair.
It could also include someone in debilitating, chronic pain which lives in an apartment with a centralized mail center on the ground floor.
To get your request approved, not only will you have to fill out and turn in the form, but you must also have a note from your doctor.
The USPS website also states, “…you need to write a letter requesting this change.” So you should also include a personal statement attesting to the need for door delivery.
Once these documents are together, you send these to the post office that delivers your mail.
If you need assistance finding out which post office delivers your mail (in any city, there are probably numerous post office locations), you can call and ask.
You can also try sending an email, but that will take longer to get a response.
Once the documents have been sent in, you’ll just wait to hear back. Each individual post office makes the decision for the households on its route.
Unfortunately, it is possible that even if you are ill or handicapped, if you live with someone else, the USPS might deny your request.
This would be on the basis that you have an able-bodied household member who could retrieve the mail without hardship.
However, if you feel that USPS should make an exception in your case, and you can give them proof of why, you are within your rights to contact them and make your argument.
What Are The Requirements For A Hardship Delivery From USPS?
To request hardship delivery from USPS, per their website, you must have a demonstrated illness or handicap.
USPS doesn’t provide much in the way of concrete definition when it comes to the phrase “illness” or “handicap.”
That vagueness on their part can work in your favor – it means that a whole panoply of conditions should be covered, provided they are legitimate.
And you prove their legitimacy with a note from your treating doctor, attesting to your immobility issues.
The USPS website also stipulates that you yourself must include a letter describing your illness or handicap and explaining the hardship it creates for mail retrieval.
Will USPS Deliver To Your Apartment Door?
USPS does not, as a rule, deliver everyday mail to individual apartment doors.
However, apartment living can certainly cause retrieval issues for someone with an illness or handicap.
This is an excellent basis for someone to apply for the USPS’s hardship delivery.
I should add, though, that in my experiences with apartment living, sometimes the mailperson did bring up packages to my door.
But equally as often, they left the packages on or under the building’s mailbox cluster on the ground floor.
It seems to be left to the discretion of the mail carrier, and they are under no obligation to bring it to your door.
It just makes you extra appreciative if they do!
Does USPS Leave Packages At The Door?
If there is room for your package in your mailbox, then the mail carrier will leave it inside with your other mail.
However, if there isn’t room, and your mailbox is out near the street or across the street, there is a good chance the mail carrier will bring it to your front door (or porch, or stoop, etc.).
This is not only a convenience to you but a preventative one, as well.
The more likely you are to retrieve your package, the fewer mishaps the post office has to deal with later.
In apartment buildings or neighborhoods with centralized mailbox spaces, carriers will discern where the safest place to leave it would be.
Additionally, if the mailboxes are inside, in a foyer, they will likely deem that safe enough for a passerby to leave it there.
Suppose it’s a cluster of mailboxes outside near a road like in a trailer park; the mail carrier can use their best judgment. That might mean bringing packages to individual doors.
One caveat, however, to having the package left at your door is if the delivery requires a signature.
Items that require a signature cannot be left in a mailbox or at the door.
Those items will be taken by the carrier back to the post office; they will instead leave you a notice that they attempted to collect a signature, but no one was home.
Will USPS Deliver To Door For Elderly?
USPS delivers to the door for the elderly only if those residents have applied and been approved for hardship delivery.
Many elderly residents are perfectly capable of retrieving their mail every day.
For this reason, USPS doesn’t automatically revert to door delivery at a certain advanced age.
Can You Tell USPS Where To Leave A Package?
USPS now offers a Delivery Instructions service, where the recipient can go online and arrange where and how qualifying mailpieces get delivered.
If your item is eligible, you can include instructions asking that a mailpiece be left in a certain location on your property – behind a shrub near the porch, for example.
Or you can request the post office hold onto it so that you can come to retrieve it.
Alternatively, you can even have the item rerouted to a different home address, like a neighbor’s or friend’s.
Per the USPS Delivery Instructions FAQ page, you can also upgrade the mailing class or request extra services.
Some instructions are free, and some must be paid for, but the most basic requests are conveniently free!
Does USPS First Class Deliver To Your Door?
First-class mail is actually what we consider “regular” mail – items that arrive in our mailboxes that have stamps, like most bills and letters.
So USPS does not deliver first-class mail to your door by default.
The default “setting” is to receive it in your mailbox.
Unfortunately, abled-bodied citizens cannot opt to receive their first-class mail at their door.
In order to receive that mail at the door and bypass the mailbox, you would have to have an existing illness or handicap.
Then you have to go through the process of applying for a hardship delivery exemption.
Does USPS Priority Mail Get Delivered To Your Door?
Priority mail can be delivered to your door if you (as the recipient) view the mailpiece’s tracking information and see that the Delivery Instruction option is available.
Then you can request for the carrier to leave it at the door (or wherever you’d like on the property).
However, the default for mail carriers, even for Priority mail, is to leave it in the mailbox, if it fits, or in a safe place near the mailbox (if it doesn’t fit inside).
As a rule, the USPS does not deliver mail to households’ doors. Their default will always be to leave it in the designated mailboxes.
However, exceptions can be made for individuals who can demonstrate illness or handicap, as well as for items that offer the Delivery Instruction service.