Tag: www.liteblue.usps.gov

www.liteblue.usps.gov

Postal LiteBlue and Open Season

Postal LiteBluePostal Service employees should visit LiteBlue to download their FEHB (health benefits) guides for this year’s open season.  Open season is the annual period when employees can make changes to their health coverage or choose a new plan – this year Open Season begins on November 10th.

 

Postal Employee guides have been mailed to employees in the past, however, the USPS has determined that making the guides available online through LiteBlue employees will find it easier to evaluate their choices as well as reduce the cost of delivery.

 

Postal Employees can find the following guides on LiteBlue:

         RI70-2 – The 2015 Guide to Benefits for Career United States Postal Service Employees.

         RI 70-8PS – The 2015 Guide to Benefits for Certain Temporary (Non-career) United States Postal Service Employees.

         FEDVIP BK-1 – The 2015 Guide to the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program.

         NCEHP BK1 – The 2015 Guide to USPS Non-career Employee Health Benefits Plan.

 

LiteBlue also makes available additional Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) and Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) information.  Postal Employees can find checklists, fact sheets, FAQs and a health plan comparison tools all through LiteBlue.

If you are unable to log into LiteBlue you can also request paper copies of these guides by calling the Human Resources Shared Services Center at 877-477-3273 (press option 5) or TTY 866-260-7507.

 

 

 

LiteBlue Articles and Related Content

What Postal employees should do on LiteBlue Before Retirement

LiteBlue; Online Access to More Than Just Your USPS Earnings Statement

Other LiteBlue Related Pages

– What Is LiteBlue?

– What Postal Employees Should Do On LiteBlue Before Retirement

– eRetire for Postal Employees – Retirement Applications on LiteBlue

– Use LiteBlue to Manage your FEHB

– You can use LiteBlue and PostalEase to manage your Allotments

– Requesting Duplicate Postal Employee W-2 Forms Using LiteBlue

Click here to be directed to LiteBlue.

How Ready Are You For Retirement?

Ready Are You For Retirement?• Have you quantified your financial objectives?  In other words, have you estimated how much money you will need to live the life you desire in retirement?

• Have you saved enough in your TSP Account?

• For Postal Employees – Are your Retirement Elections up to date in LiteBlue?

• Have you set appropriate goals for retirement?

• Do you have doable strategies to achieve those goals?

• Can you itemize the strategies to achieve the goals you have set for retirement?

• Do you know where all your important records are?

• Have you informed someone you trust about your important records?

• Do you have your spending under control and what strategies have you used to control your spending?

• Do you know how you spend every single dollar and cent?

• Do you keep a spending chart so that you can actually determine what you are spending, how you are spending and if changes need to be made?

• Are you saving enough money?

• Have you prepared an estimated retirement budget and devised steps to help you operate within your budget?

• Do you intend to leave a big inheritance to your children, other family members, or a charity?  If so, have you set aside money or made provisions to accomplish that goal?

• Have you thought about where you will live in retirement and the cost involved?

• What would you do in the event of an unexpected and extended disability before you retire?

• Do you have an emergency fund?

• If you are a couple, are both parties completely aware of the status of the financial situation?

• If something happens to either of the parties,  is each member capable of managing the family’s finances independently?

• Are you taking full and total advantage of any tax-deferred savings options offered by your employer?

• If you have dependents that rely on your income for survival, what plans have you put in place in the event of your death?

• Are you taking care of your health so that you can have a good quality of life in your retirement years?
There are many more retirement readiness questions we could pose, but I think we have sufficient fuel to allow us to take a good look at our readiness for retirement.   Remember if you have not done any of the things listed, it’s ok, you need only make them a part of your individual action plan and get started activating that plan as part of your goal to Retire Well.

P.S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

Dianna Tafazoli

RELATED TSP ARTICLES

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Withdrawal Options

For Postal Employees – LiteBlue and the TSP

Federal and Postal Employees – Choosing a Financial Professional

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

Is All ‘Your’ TSP Money Actually Yours?

Federal Retirement Benefit Analysis

How To Best Fund Your TSP

Critical Ages For Federal Retirement

Critical Ages

There are Critical Ages that Federal Employees should be aware of.  These ages represent opportunities for Federal Employees who might want to maximize their retirement benefits.

Federal Employee ~~ Age 50

• Begin age-based catch-up to defined contribution plans and individual retirement accounts (IRA).  Beginning with the year you reach age 50, Federal law allows you to defer a certain dollar amount per year to a qualified defined retirement plan.   The catch-up amount is $5,000, indexed in $500 increments.  The age-based catch-up amount for IRA contributions is $1,000.
Federal Employee ~~ Age 55
• After separation from service, you may begin withdrawing from your TSP or another qualified plan without paying a 10 percent penalty tax.
Federal Employee ~~ Age 59.5
• You may begin withdrawing from qualified retirement plans, if retired, or from an IRA without incurring the 10 percent penalty.  At 59.5 Federal employees can also take an in-service distribution – rolling their TSP account balance into an IRA with a private company and giving themselves more investment options.
Federal Employee ~~ Age 62
• You can begin receiving your Social Security benefits; however, the amount may be reduced by as much as 30 percent, depending on the date of your birth.
Federal Employee ~~ Age 63.5
• The Federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) law makes health insurance in most employers’ group health plans available for at least 18 months after separation; however, you bear the full cost, including the portion previously paid by your employer (plus a small administrative fee).  Upon age 65 and your enrollment in Medicare Part B, Federal law requires access to Medigap health insurance at standard rates.  Combining COBRA and Medigap effectively ensures access to health insurance beginning at age 63.5
Federal Employee ~~ Age 65 – 67
• Depending on your date of birth, you may begin unreduced Social Security benefits at some point during this age range.  Further, you may earn any amount without reducing this benefit.
Federal Employee ~~ Age 65
• You may enroll in Medicare, if eligible, and purchase Medigap insurance at standard rates.  Your Medigap open enrollment period lasts for six months starting on the first day of the month in which you are 1) at least age 65 and  enrolled in Medicare Part B.  During this period, an insurance company cannot deny you a Medigap policy, make you wait for coverage, or charge you more for a Medigap policy because of your health.
Federal Employee ~~ Age 70
• You may begin maximum Social Security benefits, if the starting date was delayed to this age.  There is no advantage to delaying benefits past this age.
Federal Employee ~~ Age 70.5
• Required minimum distributions from qualified plans, IRAs, and deferred compensation plans begin the year after you turn 70.5.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

RELATED TSP ARTICLES

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Withdrawal Options

For Postal Employees – LiteBlue and the TSP

Federal and Postal Employees – Choosing a Financial Professional

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

Is All ‘Your’ TSP Money Actually Yours?

Federal Retirement Benefit Analysis

How To Best Fund Your TSP

For Federal Employees – Tips To Creating A Retirement Budget

Federal Employees and Retirement Budgets

A Retirement BudgetYou don’t have to follow any particular format for creating a budget except to measure income against expenses.  The tips below might help you get started.

  • Determine a time horizon for tracking your income and expenses.
  • Outline all of your sources of income and then total the sources.
  • Outline all of your expenses, everything you spend money on.  Break down your expenses into variable and fixed income so that you can really see where there is room to make adjustments if needed. Total all of your expenses.  Remember “savings” are a fixed expense; therefore you must pay yourself first (PYF).
  • Subtract your expenses from your income.  If expenses outweigh income, you have some work to do in the ‘adjustments’ arena.  If income outweighs expenses, then you should consider paying yourself a little more so that your financial goals might be achieved earlier than planned.  Plans are made to be flexible and this is good flexibility.
  • Now that you have the tools necessary to develop both a financial plan and a budget, take sometime to compare one to the other and see how they mesh and if any refurbishing  needs to be done.  Your spending plan should be in harmony with your financial goals. Do this often throughout your life.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

LiteBlue and TSP RELATED ARTICLES

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) Withdrawal Options

For Postal Employees – LiteBlue and the TSP

Federal and Postal Employees – Choosing a Financial Professional

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

Is All ‘Your’ TSP Money Actually Yours?

Federal Retirement Benefit Analysis

How To Best Fund Your TSP

Budgeting And Federal Employee Financial Plans

Retirement Budget

For Federal and Postal Employees, building a budget carries equal weight to building a financial plan.  

Envision constructing a house – The financial plan is the front door to your dwelling and the budget is the back door, both are necessary if you expect to be safe and secure.

Having a sound financial plan and a budget are paramount to a successful retirement future.  Having a budget allows us to direct money towards goals we establish in our financial plan.  The budget acts like a navigation system, it directs our course, but only if we stick to it.  Sounds familiar, a financial plan only works if you follow it and a budget is only a good navigator if you heed the directions given.  A budget, like a financial plan is not etched in stone, but is meant to be flexible and SMART.

Primary Elements of a Federal Employee Retirement Budget

There are two primary elements to a Federal Employee retirement budget – income and expenses.  Income may be derived from various sources: employment, interests from savings and investments.  Expenses are summed up in our wants and needs.  There must always be a very careful balancing act between income and expenses.  When expenses become more than income, we run the risk of running out of money and that is exactly what we don’t want to do in retirement or at any other time for that matter.  The budget helps us to rein in spending and make wise choices that will keep our income and expenses in harmony.

As we approach retirement it will become even more critical that we recognize what our spending habits are and employ definite strategies to ensure they fit into our financial plan and are guided by a sound budget.

When we spend money it is generally for expenses that are either fixed, variable or occasional.  Most of us spend money and then think about saving what ever is left over.  When we mentioned earlier the concept of PYF or pay yourself first, it is meant to do exactly that.  Pay yourself first in the form of savings right off the top of your income.  It need not be a particularly large amount, but it must be defined and consistent.  Savings must be entered in the budget as a part of “fixed” expenses.  If we treat “savings” as a variable or occasional expense, it is very clear that we will be met with significant challenges in meeting our financial goals in the future.

Federal Employee Retirement Budget

Creating a budget is easy enough.  We need only list all income against all expenses to see where we stand.  If expenses outweigh income, then we need to make some immediate adjustments.  Most of us simply run out of money or find that we don’t have enough, without outlining everything in a budget so that we can actually see how we are spending our money.  SMART budgets must be updated regulary throughout our lives.  Remember as events change in our lives, we will very necessarily have to adjust our budget, our financial goals and the way we spend money.

There are many software programs that will allow you to monitor your budget and to stay on track by keeping your expenses and income in a spreadsheet.  A budget is your spending plan about what you can do with your money.  Warren Buffet knows exactly how much money is coming in, how much will be spent on bills and day-to-day expenses and how much to set aside for meeting large financial goals.  People who are SMART with their money, no matter how much or how little, know where their money goes because they have a plan.

Once you build a budget you will know that you have mastered the objective of creating a  budget when your budget is balanced to show that total income equals total expenses and that your budget supports each of your financial goals.  It’s your money.  You have worked hard for it and now you must make it work SMART for you!

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know,

LiteBlue Related Pages

What Is LiteBlue?

LiteBlue; Online Access to More Than Just Your USPS Earnings Statement

PostalEase / LiteBlue

What Postal Employees Should Do On LiteBlue Before Retirement

Changing Your LiteBlue / PostalEase Password Through ssp.USPS.gov

eRetire for Postal Employees – Retirement Applications on LiteBlue

Once Your Federal & Postal Retirement Plan Is In Place

Federal and Postal Retirement Planning

Federal and Postal Retirement PlanningAfter you put your federal retirement plan in place, the biggest challenge is implemnting it.  It takes discipline to stick to your retirement plan.  It is not a bad idea to find a person you trust to encourage you to stay the course.  Handling money responsibly and respectfully can be a challenge.  However, it is a lot easier when you do.  When money is involved, you have a choice.  Staying on track to meet your financial retirement goals can be achieved by following these tips:  

Federal / Postal Retirement Plan Tips

  • Write down your goals and place your written reminder where you can see it everyday.
  • Tell somebody you trust about your retirement goals and who understands what you are doing. Ask them to check in with you about your progress.  Knowing that someone will be inquiring about your progress can be a good source of motivation.
  • Review your financial plan regularly so that you can gauge where and when you need to make adjustments.  Keep working to stay on track.

Monitor Your Federal / Postal Retirement Plan

After putting your federal retirement plan in place then you must be ready to monitor and modify the plan.  This is a very critical step in the financial planning process.  Once you have developed a retirement plan, you will need to monitor it closely at regular intervals to stay on track.  A financial plan is meant to be a living document that evolves over time with changes in our lives.  You will inevitably run into unexpected obstacles and roadblocks, but the strategies you employ to over come those hurdles will help you to stay the course.

Your goals may change and your resources may deviate.  You might have to spend money you didn’t expect to spend.  Conversely, you may receive money you did not expect to receive.  Life is a work in progress and unexpected changes are a part of life.  Because of this very dynamic, it is always prudent to closely monitor and review your plan whenever there are major changes in your life.

When you reach a goal, applaud yourself and cross it off your list.  Now is the time to revisit your list of goals and query yourself:

  • Is it still valuable to achieve my existing goals?
  • Are there any new goals to be added to the list?
  • Do I need to delete or amend an existing goal?

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

LiteBlue Related Pages

What Is LiteBlue?

LiteBlue; Online Access to More Than Just Your USPS Earnings Statement

Postal LiteBlue and Open Season

What Postal Employees Should Do On LiteBlue Before Retirement

Changing Your LiteBlue / PostalEase Password Through ssp.USPS.gov

eRetire for Postal Employees – Retirement Applications on LiteBlue

 

Royal Post Office vs U.S. Postal Service

Royal Post Office vs U.S. Postal ServicePost Offices in the United States are cutting staff through offering voluntary early retirement and other means of attrition.  The Post Office is also considering closing many facilities and cutting back on the hours and days facilities are open.  For Postal Employees, early retirement was offered to managers and supervisors initially with no monetary incentive to leave the service.  The next round of early out offers to supervisors and managers came with a $10,000 monetary incentive.

The Post Office’s 500,000 employees have already been cut by 200,000 with plans to trim another 100,000.  There are many changes slated to take place in the Post Office to create efficiency by incorporating technology that will answer the growing needs of customers.

The United Kingdom’s Royal Mail services will open up about 100 facilities on Sunday afternoons.  The program will initially start off as a pilot to evaluate its effectiveness.  Most of the Royal Post Offices are open six days a week.  The Royal Mail service is also anticipating a Sunday delivery for online shoppers.   The Royal Post will begin Monday delivery for online purchases made on Saturday and Sunday.

The Service is also experimenting with a number of new ideas to increase efficiency and services to its customers.  While U. S. Post Offices are scaling back the United Kingdom is revving up.

P. S. Always Remember to Share What You Know.

Other LiteBlue Related Pages

What Is LiteBlue?

LiteBlue; Online Access to More Than Just Your USPS Earnings Statement

PostalEase / LiteBlue

What Postal Employees Should Do On LiteBlue Before Retirement

Changing Your LiteBlue / PostalEase Password Through ssp.USPS.gov

eRetire for Postal Employees – Retirement Applications on LiteBlue

LiteBlue Honors Its Own

honors postal employeesI want to share something else humane the Post Office did recently.  As a matter of fact, it is done annually.  The Richmond, Virginia District Office, not far from where I live, honors postal employees who served in the military.  They also pay homage to active duty employees and deceased civilian coworkers who recently passed away.

The Richmond District Office has an annual celebration where employees and family members attend.  The Richmond office adds bricks to a memorial walkway around the flag pole at the District’s entrance each year to honor members who pass away.

The walkway honors the mail carriers and the important work they do to carry out the mission of the Post Office.  They move the mail.  I recently found out about a pretty special mail carrier during a ceremony honoring women.  The woman’s name was Mary Fields, the first African American female mail carrier.  Ms. Fields did not become a mail carrier until age 61.  She drove a covered wagon carrying the mail in the old West.  During inclement weather she walked.  She never missed a day carrying mail.  She was respectfully called “Stage Coach Mary” because if the stage coach was there so was Mary and the mail.

The Post Office has a long history of serving the nation.  Carrying the mail has not always been easy.  Many carriers had to carry rifles and pistols to ward off stage coach robbers.  Mary Fields knew how to handle a gun.  Fortunately laws have been made to protect Mail Carriers and the mail.  There are more than 200 Federal Laws that have been enacted to protect and secure the safety of the U.S. Mail.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

LiteBlue Heroes

letter writing campaign
letter writing campaign

I read something recently that made me rethink how important Letter Carriers are.  We always think about them delivering the mail just like a habit that will never stop.  We absolutely never think about the possibility that the mail will not be delivered.  Mail Carriers are a constant in the lives of most Americans.  We know our carriers and we depend on them to deliver the mail.

A customer in New York can add something else to her list of what we depend on Mail Carriers for – SAVING HER LIFE.   Yes, saving her life.  The carrier in Yorktown Heights, NY noticed that his customer had not collected her mail for several days.  The carrier knew that was not her usual behavior.  He got very concerned and contacted Emergency Responders (ERs).  The ERs went to the woman’s home and found she needed medical attention.  The woman was transported to the local hospital where she was able to get additional care and as a result, fully recovered.

What a story.  The carrier didn’t simply determine that the mail pile-up was not his business but acted in a most humanitarian manner.  The Good Samaritan’s name is Robert Womascko.  The ERs credited Mr. Womascko for saving the woman’s life.  I think Mr. Womascko needs more than a thank you from the ERs and the woman, he needs a hero thank you from the Postal Service and from the Commander-in-Chief.  Mr. Womascko did something that was more than humane, he did something that was honorable to the highest degree.  Mr. Womascko cared about another human being’s life.  He didn’t just look at a condition and walk away.  He cared about the life of a woman who could have died had he not thought quickly to get help.

Letter carriers don’t just deliver mail, they save lives.  So if you read this post join in a letter writing campaign to the Commander-in-Chief-the President of the United States, the Post Master General and see that something of noteworthiness is done to recognize this Good Samaritan, this Honorable Man.

P. S. Always Remember to Share What You Know.

LITEBLUE’S July 17th

Post OfficeJuly 17th is an important day for the Postal Service.  July 17th is the last day to submit ideas about what the next generation of Post Office vehicles will look like and how they will need to function.  Let’s give the Post Office a big round of applause for including the people in the process who know it best.

Many organizations make decisions in a vacuum and use individuals in the organization who have absolutely no hands-on knowledge about the process.  The best folks to tell a baker whether his cake is good is not the baker, but those who eat the cake.  The best individuals to give input about Postal Delivery vehicles are the ones who drive them, repair and maintain them.  They are by far the very best authority to assist in designing the next generation of mail service delivery trucks.

The Post Office has an aging fleet of vehicles and are by all estimates not getting the efficiency of more modern vehicles.  Postal carriers and Vehicle Maintenance personnel have been asked by their supervisors and managers to submit  ideas and thoughts about what is needed in the Post Office’s next generation of service vehicles.   Postal carriers and Vehicle Maintenance personnel will submit their best suggestions in a number of categories by July 17, 2014.

The Post Office got it right – by including its people in the strategic planning process.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

Other LiteBlue Related Pages

LITEBLUE, Shared Services and You

OPMWho can you trust to get your retirement documentation right?  Recently that question was posed to Postal Workers about their retirement.  The Postal Service uses HR Shared Services as their pre-retirement, all things human resources information and advice arm.  Upon retirement the go-to-gurus will be the Office of Personnel Management?

The question posed is one of those rare life-line questions.  OPM handles the business of all Federal employees when they are active and inactive (retirement).  The mere premise is mind boggling and sometimes things get mixed up and you might have to wait longer than you’d like to get your benefits or at least your correct benefits.  In a past article, we talked about getting your house in order, taking care of the things necessary to make your transition to retirement smooth and complete.

The question posed simply reiterates and underscores the need to do just that.  It is recommended that Postal Employees download a copy of their eOPF (Electronic Official Personnel Folder).   You can print out the information or save it to your computer.  Once you separate from the Post Office you will no longer have access to your information on LiteBlue.  Pay a visit to the LiteBlue website and follow the download and print instructions so that you will have all the information that is in your folder at your fingertips when you need it.

Downloading your folder and setting it aside is not enough.  Prior to OPFs becoming electronic, they were paper.  Hopefully your agency passed on your paper folder to you.  Further, over the years you might have kept copies of your information in your at-home file.  Always as a rule of thumb, keep your end of the year W-2s.  Each time you choose or switch health insurance carriers, keep a copy of your records.  Make certain that the service computation date (SCD) shown in your folder matches what you have.  Most of us remember the exact date when we started to work.  Agencies, even OPM, make mistakes or are subject to an oversight.

Take care of your business.  Be in charge of the business of your life because no one cares about your business as much as you do.   Many Postal Workers will be eligible for incentive payments.  Make sure you submit PS Form 3077 to your employing agency so where you want your incentive payment mailed will be on record.  If you are attempting to use any electronic means to transmit information to HR Shared Services or your employing office and the mechanics are not responding, pick up the telephone and notify the appropriate entity right away.

Stay in charge of your business now so that you can relax, enjoy and retire well.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

Congress, You’ve Got Mail – From The Post Office

Got Maill The Post Office

I have been doing some research trying to make sense of why the Congress requires the United States Postal Service to pre-fund health benefits for future retirees.  The strategy causes the Post Office to struggle to make a profit.  According to USPS Chief Financial Officer, Joe Corbett, the Post Office has about $22 billion in assets and a $113 billion in liabilities, including liabilities related to the “pre-funding” law imposed by Congress.

The United States Supreme Court sort of side-tracked the original intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act, preventing many disabled individuals from meeting the definition of “disabled”.  The Congress saw the inequity in that move and enacted the ADA Amendment Act of 2008 to rectify a ruling by the court that was not to the benefit of the disabled and abrogated the intent of the original Act.

What about a little role reversal?  Now that the Congress has it all confused over the “pre-fund” law, perhaps the Court needs to step in and say that the pre-fund law is unconstitutional and serves as a deterrent to the Post Office’s primary mission to deliver the mail.  Perhaps, that means electronically, by stamp, or some other fancy piece of technology, but the Congress is about to bankrupt an organization for reasons the public does not understand.  I don’t understand, but I am still researching.  I will let you know what I find.

Join in in asking the Congress – What is the purpose of the “pre-fund” law?  It is a notion that has outlived its time because it should have never existed if it does not benefit and support the organization and that means the people.

P. S. Always Remember to Share What You Know.

Other LiteBlue & ADA Related Pages

Schedule A – What is Reasonable Accomodation

LiteBlue; Online Access to More Than Just Your USPS Earnings Statement

PostalEase / LiteBlue

What Postal Employees Should Do On LiteBlue Before Retirement

Use LiteBlue to Manage your FEHB

Requesting Duplicate Postal Employee W-2 Forms Using LiteBlue

LiteBlue Trims Again

LiteBlue Trims AgainThe United States Postal Service is being hammered by the Congress and its stakeholders to do something highly innovative with its Financial Management System.  Is it the financial management system that needs fixing or is the Post Office being killed off by technology?    As more and more eTechnology takes over every single aspect of our lives, things will change and what we used to know as the “norm” will be outdated and extinct.

The Postal Service offered voluntary early retirement (VERA) last year to about 15,000 employees.  They are again offering 3,000 postmasters the opportunity to retire early, this time with an financial incentive of $10,000.  Post Offices are cutting back on hours across the country thereby needing fewer workers to cover the one-time around the clock effort.  Postmasters and high-level supervisors have until August 18, 2014, to accept the offer.  If the offer is accepted, the employee must separate from service by the end of September.  The employees who are eligible for retirement can decline the offer and seek reassignment somewhere else in the system.

If the voluntary early retirement does not achieve the numbers intended by the Postal Service, they might move to a Reduction-in-Force by mid-October and separate employees by January 9, 2015.  A USPS spokeswoman stated that if the postmasters do not accept the early retirement, take another postal job or resign, they would be laid off.  I am drawn by that statement to a lesson from the late poet, Maya Angelou.  She said, “When you learn teach and when you get give.”

Before I continue with the post I want to help the USPS spokeswoman restate her statement and I do that with the greatest amount of respect.  That is what HR Leaders do, massage statements so they engender respectability.  Often when people are under pressure to achieve a goal in a fishbowl, they may speak without their otherwise diplomacy.  This is how the statement might have been said,  “The Postal Service has been very fortunate to have a significant number of dedicated men and women to carry the mail and the many other duties we gladly accept.  The Post Office is not exempt from the economic turbulence the nation has faced and is still facing.  We are hoping that our employees who are eligible for retirement will seriously consider taking early retirement so that we will not have to entertain a Reduction-in-Force or a possible layoff.  The Post Office is a family and we have always worked together to provide one of the best services to the nation I know.  I am confident that our Voluntary Early Retirement efforts will be successful.  Thank you.”

The Post Office has reduced the number of employees at facilities across the country significantly via attrition absent of a layoff since initiating the Postal Plan in 2012.  I am sure they will continue the effort with much success and diplomacy.  The nation appreciates the Postal Service.

P.S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

Other LiteBlue Related Pages

What Is LiteBlue?

PostalEase / LiteBlue

What Postal Employees Should Do On LiteBlue Before Retirement

eRetire for Postal Employees – Retirement Applications on LiteBlue

Use LiteBlue to Manage your FEHB

You can use LiteBlue and PostalEase to manage your Allotments

Requesting Duplicate Postal Employee W-2 Forms Using LiteBlue

LiteBlue and Other Tools For Planning

Tools For Planning

The question of having enough money to live in retirement always looms over our heads. Is over-planning equivalent to under-planning?  I am not sure if the degree of planning is what is at issue.  Rather, it is the act of planning period that should come into play.

The Postal Service, along with LiteBlue, provides many tools to its workforce to begin the process of moving into retirement with confidence. The Postal Service has structured a National Retirement Counseling System (NRCS) that enables all employees eligible for retirement to receive in-depth training on retirement benefits, how they work in retirement and what to expect.  NRCS wants every employee to receive all the information necessary to make the best decisions possible to turn the years they have worked into a satisfying retirement future.

The NRCS allows persons eligible for retirement to ask all the questions necessary to assist them in the process of transitioning from work to retirement.  Twice a year an annuity estimate is mailed to the homes of those persons currently eligible for retirement.  The computer-generated estimate allows postal workers to assess and evaluate their financial picture and to make changes where needed in their plans for retirement.

Most organizations begin to counsel employees within a fews years years of retirement.  These employees are able to get annuity estimates that will assist them in the planning process.  Organizations tend to concentrate on retirement during this period because the likelihood of things changing significantly in the work profile of these employees is fairly remote.  Generally, in calculating an annuity estimate, the high-three average salary is key.  Therefore, if you are about to retire in 3 – 5 years, your salary may not change significantly.

Remember these are only your annuity estimates and what your numbers will really look like depend solely on when you submit your application for retirement and the actual process begins.

Start planning early so that when the actual time comes, both you and your spouse will have more than a basic understanding of how your benefits work in retirement.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

Other LiteBlue Related Pages

What Is LiteBlue?

PostalEase / LiteBlue

What Postal Employees Should Do On LiteBlue Before Retirement

eRetire for Postal Employees – Retirement Applications on LiteBlue

Use LiteBlue to Manage your FEHB

You can use LiteBlue and PostalEase to manage your Allotments

Requesting Duplicate Postal Employee W-2 Forms Using LiteBlue

Postal Employee – STAPLES® Survey

Postal

Postal Employee – YOUR OPINION MATTERS

The USPS has opened over 50 ‘Test’ USPS locations inside of STAPLES® locations throughout the Country.  Your opinion about this event matters – Our results will be published and we will be forwarding our findings to the USPS for review and consideration.

 

www.PSRetirement.com is conducting a Survey of USPS employees.

 

PSRetirement.com, through the ‘Postal Employee – STAPLES®‘ survey is requesting feedback from Postal employees about the USPS’s decision to open USPS locations in over 50 ‘test market’ STAPLES® stores.

 

If you were selected to participate in this survey please do so – 

 

If you have NOT received your survey and would like to participate please request your survey by submitting your email address in the comment section below – we will promptly send one to you.

 

Your opinion matters – Make it count.

 

* To say ‘Thank You’ for the time you spend filling out the survey PSRetirement.com is offering survey participants a Retirement Benefit Analysis free of charge.

 

 

Postal and LiteBlue Related Pages

What Is LiteBlue?

PostalEase / LiteBlue

What Postal Employees Should Do On LiteBlue Before Retirement

eRetire for Postal Employees – Retirement Applications on LiteBlue

Use LiteBlue to Manage your FEHB

You can use LiteBlue and PostalEase to manage your Allotments

Requesting Duplicate Postal Employee W-2 Forms Using LiteBlue

Changing Your LiteBlue / PostalEase Password

Changing Your PostalEase Password

PostalEaseBy now, you will almost certainly have received your new LiteBlue / PostalEase password and have thought about visiting ssp.usps.gov to make the change (ssp www.usps.gov).

The letter you have received contains a temporary password in the upper right hand corner of the letter.  You may have to search for the password as it is not clearly identified, but it is there if you look.

To effect the change, you will need to visit https://ssp.usps.gov/ssp-web/login.xhtml.  As you go to the website you will need to enter your LiteBlue (employee) ID and the temporary LiteBlue password.

Once you are logged in, you will need to set up and then save your new LiteBlue password.  Please remember, however, that LiteBlue / PostalEase will be accepting your new (ssp www.usps.gov) passwords after April 28th, 2014.

 

Other LiteBlue Related Pages

What Is LiteBlue?

PostalEase / LiteBlue

What Postal Employees Should Do On LiteBlue Before Retirement

eRetire for Postal Employees – Retirement Applications on LiteBlue

Use LiteBlue to Manage your FEHB

You can use LiteBlue and PostalEase to manage your Allotments

Requesting Duplicate Postal Employee W-2 Forms Using LiteBlue

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Annual Leave and Death – Postal Employees

Annual Leave and Death

Annual LeaveWhat happens to the annual leave that an employee has accumulated if he or she dies in service?  If a family loses a loved one and the plans they thought were in place suddenly change, that can be an awfully frustrating time.  Families depend on the income and even the planned future income of those who work and support them.

It is urgently important that family members engage in conversations regularly so that they have the information needed to make their lives a little easier when someone they love passes away either expectedly or unexpectedly.  However, to have an unexpected death is most trying for a family.

In addition to FEGLI (life insurance), Postal employees have many other benefits that can assist their families in the event of death.  If a Postal employee dies while in service his or her beneficiaries or the estate for those employees in a non-bargaining unit are eligible to receive final or terminal leave payments just as the employee would receive had he or she lived.  This is important information to know because the monies from the terminal leave payment is without doubt a benefit to the grieving family.

On the other hand for those Postal employees who are in a bargaining unit, their beneficiaries or the estate will also receive the same payments as if the employee had lived with the provision that the amount would also include payment for accrued annual leave in excess of the maximum carryover cap that the employee could have used had he lived.  However, any leave that would fall into a use-or-lose category in which the employee would have been required to forfeit would not be eligible for payment.

Knowing what benefits belong to you and how they will work for your family in the event of a misfortune is a critical part of the planning process for living and retiring in comfort and security.  Hopefully nothing like a premature death will ever befall your family, but you should incorporate this information into your discussions with your loved ones – and this information can be found on LiteBlue.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

 

Related LiteBlue Articles

How To Bid Assignments / Routes On LiteBlue

What Postal employees need to do on LiteBlue before retirement

What Is LiteBlue?

PostalEase / LiteBlue

What Postal Employees Should Do On LiteBlue Before Retirement

Changing Your LiteBlue / PostalEase Password Through ssp.USPS.gov

eRetire for Postal Employees – Retirement Applications on LiteBlue

Use LiteBlue to Manage your FEHB

You can use LiteBlue and PostalEase to manage your Allotments

Requesting Duplicate Postal Employee W-2 Forms Using LiteBlue

Flexible Spending Account Through LiteBlue

Flexible Spending Account

Flexible Spending AccountThe Postal Service offers Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) to their employees.  The FSA program is administered by United Healthcare for the United States Postal Service.  There are a number of ways or portals by which Postal employees can enroll in FSA (Flexible Spending Account) during open season which generally runs from mid- November to the latter part of December with a grace period of approximately 2 1/2 months for those who are still participating as of the end of December or December 31, 2014.

Postal employees can use PostalEASE to enroll in the Flexible Spending Account Program.   They may call the Employee Service Line toll-free at (877) 477-3272 and press option 1.  They may also use an employee self-service Kiosk and choose PostalEASE to enroll.  Postal employees have the option of going to LiteBlue and choosing PostalEASE.  They can also choose the ‘Essential Links’, and click PostalEASE at your LiteBlue account.

Only career employees may participate in the Postal Service’s FSA program.  To qualify the employee must have completed a minimum of 26 pay periods of Postal Service by the end of the pay period of the year in which participation is requested.  If an employee has been in a Leave Without Pay Status (LWOP) lasting for 8 consecutive full pay periods as of mid-December of the current year, then the employee is not eligible to participate in the FSA program.  The only exception is that the employee is returning from military service.

Postal Employees are offered two FSA programs – the Health Care FSA and the Dependent Care FSA.  Annual contributions are limited to $2500 for the Health Care FSA.  The contributions are limited to $5,000 for a family and $2500 for a married employee who files separately for the Dependent Care FSA.
Contributions are withheld via payroll deduction covering 26 pay periods in equal amounts.  Employees may make a minimum contribution of $5 per period to either of their Flexible Spending Accounts. Employees may not change contributions amounts or cancel enrollment during the plan year except for certain qualifying life events.

Although Flexible Spending Accounts do not transfer in retirement, they are a sound way of managing money and resources during the work career.  Many families find them especially useful when they are growing their families and may have unexpected medical expenses and child care expenses.  Every family and every situation is unique.  Find the situation that best fits you and your family and start building for a successful and secure retirement future.

P. S. Always Remember to Share What You Know.

 

RELATED TOPICS – More Federal and Postal Insurance Information

Federal Employees Group Life Insurance (FEGLI)

Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB)

Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP)

Federal Employees and Medicare

Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP)

Federal Flexible Spending Account (FSAFEDS)

Annual Leave Exchange (ALE) Program – Available through LiteBlue

Annual Leave Exchange (ALE)

Annual LeaveDid you know that the United States Postal Service has an Annual Leave Exchange (ALE) Program available through the LiteBlue website? There is a lot of information on the Blue Page that can help you manage your employment life including a solid plan for retirement.  The Annual Leave Exchange Program (ALE) provides that eligible career employees can opt to receive a lump sum payment in exchange for annual leave.  You can only exercise this option during Open Season.  Employees who are eligible receive the Letter on Annual Leave Exchange annually.

The Annual Leave Exchange program applies to leave that will be earned during the next year.  Once you have made the exchange, you are no longer eligible to use the annual leave.  There are also other conditions that apply.

Postal employees classified as working full-time and part-time regular career employees that are not a part of a collective bargaining unit can opt to exchange the annual leave they will earn for the next year for cash up to 128 hours. They must also have an annual leave balance of 160 hours at the end of a current leave year.

Under some Collective Bargaining Agreements that cover full-time and part-time regular employees, they must have a leave balance of 440 hours at the end of the leave year.  They also must have used less than 75 hours of sick leave during the leave year to qualify to participate in the annual leave exchange program. Upon meeting the qualification requirements, these employees are allowed to exchange up to 40 hours of the annual leave they would earn during the next leave year.

There is also a “Constructive Receipt” clause in the Annual Leave Exchange Program as governed by the Internal Revenue Service.  It stipulates that Postal Service employees are not allowed to exchange leave already earned that exceeds the carryover limit for the Postal Service.

Employees that are in a Bargaining Unit have an annual leave limit carryover of 55 days or 440 hours.  Those under the Executive and Administrative Schedule have an annual leave limit carryover of 70 days or 560 hours.

There are a number of ways by which Postal Service Employees can make their ALE elections.  They may use PostalEase Online, LiteBlue, Blue or one of the many Kiosks designated for employees to conduct business.  Postal Service Employees may also use the Self-Service Phone option by calling (877) 477-3273).

Always make certain your contact information is correct and updated on LiteBlue so that you can receive valuable information that will help you make important employment decisions that will also help you retire well in the future.

P. S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

 

Related LiteBlue Articles

How To Bid Assignments / Routes On LiteBlue

What Postal employees need to do on LiteBlue before retirement

What Is LiteBlue?

PostalEase / LiteBlue

What Postal Employees Should Do On LiteBlue Before Retirement

Changing Your LiteBlue / PostalEase Password Through ssp.USPS.gov

eRetire for Postal Employees – Retirement Applications on LiteBlue

Use LiteBlue to Manage your FEHB

You can use LiteBlue and PostalEase to manage your Allotments

Requesting Duplicate Postal Employee W-2 Forms Using LiteBlue

LiteBlue – PostalEase Serving Postal Workers

LiteBlue and PostalEase

LiteBluePostalEase and LiteBlue help the Postal Service provide service and structure to all the post offices throughout the nation.  As I speak to a number of individuals they describe the Postal Service as just their local post office.  It is much more than that.  It is a the third largest civilian employer in the world with services to the military in conjunction with the Department of Defense commonly called the Army Post Office.

The Post Office provides the kind of convenience to Americans we have come to depend on.  The quality of service that is offered to external customers is often indicative of the service provided to its internal customers – the workforce.   Just as postal services are made easy for Americans to take care of their postal needs, LiteBlue via PostalEase makes it easy, fast and convenient for Postal employees to take care of their needs.

PostalEase is a telephone enrollment system implemented by the Postal Service to make Direct Deposit, FEHB decisions, Thrift Savings Plan elections and much more.  The Postal employee only needs to call a toll-free number with their Employee ID Number (EIN) and their USPS Personal identification Number (PIN) to gain access to the system or login to www.liteblue.usps.gov.

Postal employees can make Open Season decisions, elect contribution amounts to their TSP.gov account and change their Thrift Savings Plan contribution amounts.  Postal employees can also cancel or stop their Thrift Savings Plan contributions.  If you use the PostalEase phone service to transact business with allotments/net to bank you must have in addition to your PIN and EIN, your Account Number, the type of account and the 9 digit Routing Number to you banking institution.

If you don’t have a PIN you can also make the request via phone.  The PIN will be mailed to your mailing address of record within 10 days.  After completing any transactions via LiteBlue-PostalEase, you will receive a confirmation number that should be maintained for your records.

P.S.  Always Remember to Share What You Know.

Related LiteBlue Articles

How To Bid Assignments / Routes On LiteBlue

What Postal employees need to do on LiteBlue before retirement

What Is LiteBlue?

PostalEase / LiteBlue

What Postal Employees Should Do On LiteBlue Before Retirement

Changing Your LiteBlue / PostalEase Password Through ssp.USPS.gov

eRetire for Postal Employees – Retirement Applications on LiteBlue

Use LiteBlue to Manage your FEHB

You can use LiteBlue and PostalEase to manage your Allotments

Requesting Duplicate Postal Employee W-2 Forms Using LiteBlue