Knoxville man gets help getting mail

Investigations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Around East Tennessee, many apartment and condominium communities are designed with a central mailbox system. This poses a real problem for a Knoxville man with mobility issues who can’t get to his mail box.

He spoke with WATE 6 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Don Dare seeking assistance.

Cluster mailboxes save time for postal carriers and in the long run, money for the postal service.

But if you have health issues, for example, if your legs and feet just don’t want to cooperate; retrieving your mail can be a big issue.

It’s difficult for Steve Davidson to walk. In early October, he suffered a stroke and nearly died. A few years ago, he had a hip replacement. Just getting to the door is a major challenge.

His wife Brenda of 40 years passed away from cancer two years ago. Steve now lives alone.
In his youth, he loved motorcycles and rode them frequently. He used to play the guitar at his church, but can’t anymore because of arthritic hands.

At his condo community, there are cluster mailboxes allowing postal workers to deliver to a single point instead of house to house. Mr. Davidson has petitioned the postal service for home delivery.

“And I was just trying to get the post office to help me and deliver my mail to the condo for me because the mailbox is quite a ways up the road.”

Steve Davidson

The boxes are about 100 yards from the front of his condo.

“Now, I’m having to try to catch a neighbor, letting them go and get my mail for me, which is a bother to them I don’t like to put on them.”

Steve Davidson

On the postal service’s website, there are directions on how to request door delivery if you have a physical challenge in retrieving the mail. He learned about the exemption from his postal carrier.

Ever the optimist, Steve had a mailbox installed at this front door. Following his postal carrier’s instructions Mr. Davidson’s doctor wrote this letter about his difficulty in walking and he applied for the waiver.

His postal worker said she would turn it into the post office, they would have to approve it, and with Steve’s situation it shouldn’t be long. But it’s been since October.

WATE 6 on Your Side contacted the Postal Service about Steve’s situation. Mr. Davidson received a call from his local Postmaster who Steve said first apologized saying the paperwork taken by the mail carrier was never received at the post office.

However, Steve said he was told a form requesting door to door delivery will be mailed to him immediately. Plus the postmaster wants a copy of the doctor’s letter.

Mr. Davidson’s appeal is simple, “To just bring my mail and put it in my box. It would help me tremendously.”

Steve says he plans on getting his letter off, as soon as it’s received. Now, the Postal Service has a set of guidelines for changes in delivery service.

Each request is based on physical hardship.

The Post Office says a letter asking for a waiver must be sent to your local postmaster; also, a signed note from your doctor should be included, stating the nature of the disability.

The Postal Service says increased operational costs are not part of the decision making process.

Also, if the local postmaster turns down a request for door to door delivery, an appeal can be made to the district manager.

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