As U.S. Postal Service lore goes, neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays its couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. For the price of a 45-cent stamp, the post office will speed an envelope from coast to coast in a day or two. But some veteran postal workers have found a way to bring the post office to a grinding halt: File for retirement.
According to the federal Office of Personnel Management, the typical waiting time from a postal worker’s retirement to receiving their first annuity check is several months, and longer in some cases.
OPM is responsible for the personnel matters of nearly three million federal workers, including more than half a million postal employees. Included in its mission is the task of “providing retirement compensation and tools and options for retirement planning.” Based on oversight reports from the General Accounting Office, however, sluggish handling of the retirement process has become a hallmark of the OPM.
Interim annuity checks begin to go out soon after a postal employee’s retirement, but usually total only between 50 and 80 percent of their eventual annuity payment. That can create a financial crunch for workers as they enter their retirement years. And if history is any indication, reliable relief may be a while in coming.