Rethinking Assumptions

With $72 billion in revenue and 154 billion pieces of mail moved in a year, the U.S. Postal Service deals in the billions. That’s why you sometimes hear people joke that “a few million here and a few million there and pretty soon you are talking about real money” with the USPS.

 

Surplus to Requirements

There has been a surplus in the U.S. Postal Service’s Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) pension program since 1992. Most recently, the FERS surplus was projected to be $11.4 billion, accounting for most of the Postal Service’s total $13.1 billion pension surplus.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) asked Hay Group, an actuarial firm, to examine the causes of the FERS surplus, and a new OIG white paper presents the results of Hay Group’s work.

 

Should the Postal Service request financial relief from the $6.8 billion FERS surplus?

The Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS) is one of the retirement programs of the U.S. government, and benefits are extended to U.S. Postal Service employees. FERS is administered by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Congress established the guidelines for OPM to set contribution rates and can alter them by passing new law or amending an existing law. Postal Service employees who began their careers after December 31, 1983, are automatically enrolled in the FERS. For Postal Service employees, a majority of FERS funding is accomplished through Postal Service contributions.