USPS Claim of Outstanding Debts from Retired Employees

Nancy Olumekor

May 20, 2024

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Retirees have a right to file a grievance when they become aware of an alleged outstanding debt owed to the USPS. “If a grievance is initiated and advanced through the grievance-arbitration procedure or a petition has been fi led pursuant to the Debt Collection Act, regardless of the amount of the debt, collection of the debt will be delayed until disposition of the grievance and/or petition have been had, either through settlement or exhaustion of contractual and/or administrative remedies.” These rights are in the Contract and the Joint Contract Interpretation Manual (JCIM) under Article 15, Section 7- Outstanding Debts of Retired Employees and Article 28.4 Collection Procedure.

The APWU and the USPS agreed, in part, that:

Due Process requires prior notice. Retirees are entitled to a written notice, including notice of their right to fi le a grievance before the Postal Service takes any action to collect on an alleged payroll issue or outstanding debt.

Article 15-time limits apply. A Step 1 grievance must be filed within fourteen (14) days of the date on which the employee or the Union first learned of its cause, the alleged payroll or collection dispute. The Postal Service may not submit a Request for Recovery of Debt to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) before the grievance/ arbitration procedure has been exhausted.

Retirees, the bottom line is, when you receive any type of notice from the USPS or OPM claiming that you owe the Postal Service money, you must act at once. The notice may come in the form of a Notice of Determination of a Debt; a Letter of Indebtedness; a Letter of Demand, or an invoice from the Postal Service. Read the letter completely, then contact a local union representative of where you last worked to fi le a grievance. Once the local or state union files your grievance, request the grievance number as proof that it was fi led and appealed to Step 2. Then, notify the proper agency/offices of the grievance and provide the case number. Ask the union to ensure the Post Office notified the proper agency/offices that the debt cannot be collected while the grievance is being processed.

Postal Service Health Benefits (PSHB) Program Medicare Part B Special Enrollment Period

As a result of the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022, a Medicare Part B Special Enrollment Period (SEP) began on April 1, 2024, and ends Sept. 30, 2024. This SEP gives USPS annuitants and their covered family members who are entitled to Medicare Part A, but are not currently enrolled in Medicare Part B, a one-time opportunity to enroll in Medicare Part B without incurring the Late Enroll Penalty (LEP).

Those USPS annuitants and their covered family members who are eligible to enroll during this SEP should have received a special mailing from the USPS that includes an Eligibility Notice for Medicare Part B SEP, an Application for Enrollment in Medicare Part B, and a special Business Reply Envelope to return the required forms to a special P.O. Box. Enrollment in Medicare Part B during this SEP is optional. If you enroll in Medicare during this SEP, your Medicare Part B coverage effective date will be Jan. 1, 2025.

Medicare Part B has a monthly income-based premium for all who enroll. The 2024 Medicare Part B premium is $174.90 per eligible family member, based on an income of less than or equal to $103,000.00 fi ling single tax return ($206,000.00 joint fi ling). Certain Medicare Part B enrollees will pay higher premiums based on higher income.

If you did not receive the enrollment packet and believe you are eligible to enroll in Medicare Part B during this SEP, or have questions about Medicare Part B and/or the PSHB program, contact the USPS at 1-833-712-7742 or email ■

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