Can’t get free COVID tests from USPS? Here’s what you might be doing wrong

An error message that some users received while trying to order a free COVID-19 test under a new federal program. (Screenshot / Nexstar)

(NEXSTAR) – The White House plans to send Americans free COVID-19 test at home using US Postal Service launched its website to sign up a day earlier than expected Tuesday. For many, it took a total of 15 seconds to claim the four free sets. For others, especially those living in multi-unit or multi-family homes, there were some issues.

Here’s what the USPS says you should do if you receive error messages or have trouble claiming your COVID test kits.

COVID-19 tests have already been ordered at home for this address

Some people living in apartments, duplexes, co-ops or at other addresses that house multiple families ran into an error message Tuesday on the USPS website that reads: “COVID-19 test has already been ordered for this address . “

Because the program is currently limited to one order of four tests per. residential address, some people may not be able to receive their free allowance.

For example, if you rent a granny apartment behind a main house, but your unit does not have its own address with the USPS, you may not be able to sign up if someone in the main house has already claimed your address assignment.

A spokesman for the White House told The Verge the problem affects “a really small percentage” of US households.

If you get this message, here’s what the USPS suggests trying:

  1. Check with everyone in your household and make sure they have not already claimed your set of four tests.
  2. If you believe there is a problem with the USPS recognizing your home address, you can submit a service request here.
  3. Get tested at a test site instead.

As frustrating as it may be, you just can not get the free tests if you live in a multi-family household. (Apartment residents, keep reading for more troubleshooting tips.) The USPS suggests trying other ways to find free tests for now, either at a test site or of get them reimbursed by your insurance.

“We could not validate your address.

If you receive the error message above, there is a chance that you will enter your address a little differently than the way the USPS recognizes it. For example, you could write “Eighth Street” when the USPS knows it as “8th Street.”

Here’s what you need to do to get your address validated:

  1. Use the USPS Address Lookup Tool by by clicking here.
  2. Enter your address, then click find.
  3. Now try ordering your tests again using the address exactly as specified by the USPS.

If it does not work, the postal service says to submit a service request.

“We could not validate your address as complete. ”

This error has occurred for some people living in apartments, condominiums or other addresses with multiple units. This can also be a problem just by entering your address a little incorrectly. For example, you might need to type “Apt. 1” instead of “# 1.”

Here’s what the USPS says you should do if you get the error message above:

  1. Use the USPS Address Lookup Tool by by clicking here.
  2. Enter your address, then click find.
  3. Now try ordering your tests again using the address exactly as specified by the USPS.

If it still does not work, try this tip wins out on Twitter: Try to write the apartment number in the first line of your address, do not separate it with a separate field.

If even that fails, the USPS says to submit a service request.

The address you entered is listed as a business address in our system.

This error message occurs because the program is only built to recognize residential addresses and residential mailboxes as qualified to receive the free COVID-19 tests. If you entered a home address and still received the error message, USPS tells submit a service request.

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