A resident displays an at-home rapid COVID-19 test kit in Philadelphia, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021
Matt Rourke/AP Photo
- The Post Office launched a website Tuesday where people can order 4 free COVID-19 tests.
- Some people living in apartments or other multiple-family residences had trouble ordering.
- Here are 3 tips to try if you haven’t been able to place an order yet.
Americans can now order free COVID-19 test kits from the federal government, but a lot of people are having trouble getting the tests because of where they live.
The United States Postal Service launched its website on Tuesday where people in the US can order four free at-home COVID-19 tests. Since the launch, apartment-dwellers and other people living in multi-unit residences have reported getting error messages preventing them from ordering tests.
The USPS says such issues are affecting “a small percentage of orders.”
“The Postal Service is seeing very limited cases of addresses that are not registered as multi-unit buildings which could lead to COVID test kit ordering difficulties,” the USPS said in a statement.
Here are some troubleshooting tips to try if you haven’t been able to order tests, based on the following error messages you might be getting:
1. “At-home COVID-19 tests have already been ordered for this address.”
If you live in an apartment or other multiple-family residence and you’re getting this message, it’s probably because the USPS system doesn’t recognize your unit’s address as one of several in a multi-unit building. In these cases, the USPS recommends filing a service request at https://emailus.usps.com/s/the-postal-store-inquiry or calling its help desk at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).
If you’re in a single-family home and you get this message, it could be because someone else in your household has already placed an order. Tests are limited to four per residential address, so ask the people who live with if they’ve already submitted an order.
2. “We couldn’t validate your address.”
The USPS says this error message appears when people enter addresses that aren’t recognized delivery addresses. This could happen because of formatting issues in your address, for example. Use the USPS’s ZIP code look-up tool to make sure you’re typing your address the way the USPS recognizes it, and then try ordering tests again. If you still can’t place an order, file a service request.
3. “We couldn’t validate your address as complete.”
If you get this error message, it could be that you forgot to enter your apartment or suite number. Again, the USPS recommends using its ZIP code look-up tool and then trying again before filing a service request if your order still doesn’t go through.
4. “At-home COVID-19 tests can only be sent to a residential address.”
The tests are only being delivered to residential addresses and residential PO boxes, so you may be getting this error message if your residence is connected with a commercial building. In this case, file a service request.
For other issues, you can find answers to frequently asked questions about ordering tests on the USPS website here.
If you’re still unable to order tests, you can also visit a COVID-19 test site or be reimbursed by private health insurance for eight at-home COVID-19 tests per person per month.