US postal rates are changing on May 12. Some prices are going up, some are going down, but the most obvious change for most people is that the cost of the first ounce for a First-Class Mail letter is going up from 41¢ to 42¢.
This change has provoked a certain amount of discussion in comments on an old entry of mine about the Forever Stamp, including some comments that contradict statements made by USPS employees when the Forever Stamp was first released. In particular, I had seen information to the effect that a Forever Stamp could be used only for very specific purposes, on very specific kinds of mail, but commenters were saying that wasn't true.
So I poked around on the USPS website for a while, but I couldn't find specific answers to my particular questions. They don't provide a lot of detail about how the Forever Stamps work, at least not on any pages I could find when I searched their site.
This morning, I was looking at a news release on their site titled "Every Time a Bell Rings... Another Forever Stamp is Sold," which gives some information but doesn't quite answer my question. So I dropped a note in email to David Partenheimer, the media contact listed on that page, using the email address provided on that page. I figured I probably wouldn't get a response at all, and that if I did it would probably take a week, given how busy I would expect the USPS's main media contact to be just before a rate change.
Instead, I received a detailed response less than three hours after my query. On a Sunday afternoon. That is dedication; I'm very impressed.
Anyway, Mr. Partenheimer explained (I'm paraphrasing) that the limitations on the use of Forever Stamps that I'd heard about aren't real. You can use Forever Stamps on anything you want to mail.
To put it another way: at any given moment, if the cost of a one-ounce First-Class Mail stamp is n¢, then a Forever Stamp is worth n¢ in postage. You can put a Forever Stamp and some additional postage on a two-ounce letter. You can put several Forever Stamps (and additional postage if needed) on a five-ounce letter, or on a package. And so on. It's just like regular postage, except that its value increases as rates go up.
Sounds like it's time to stock up on Forever Stamps.