Postal Service Delays Affect Court Filings and Medical Assistance Applications

In 2020, many of you undoubtedly noticed significant delays with the United States Postal Service. Our elder law office in Maryland also noticed that our mail was either slow to be received or, in some cases, appear not to have reached their final destination.

While that may be a minor inconvenience for mailing bills, it can be devastating for court filings and medical assistance (i.e., Medicaid) applications. Many court filings are very time sensitive, so it can be a major problem if they are delivered late or not at all.

Electronic Filing in Maryland Jurisdictions

Some jurisdictions in Maryland mandate electronic filing, so the issue of late mailing does not impact these filings. However, not all circuit court jurisdictions have electronic filing available. In particular, Baltimore City and Prince George’s County do not have electronic filing systems in place yet. Also, no Orphans’ Court or medical assistance process has electronic filing.

Use Courier Instead of USPS

If your court filing is not received, or even if it is late, then that can be a complete barrier for your case proceeding. It may even result in your case being dismissed, for reasons beyond your control. That is why, for the foreseeable future, critical non-electronic filing should occur via courier.

Even if you send your filing via a courier service, such as FedEx, there are still some risks. For example, you are asking the FedEx worker to place your filing in a unique location at the courthouse, which may not be familiar to them. That can also lead to lost filings.

We all hope that this issue with the United States Postal Service is temporary. But for now, we are keeping a close look at this issue. And for non-electronic filings, we are using a courier to file our cases.