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Does a government shutdown affect postal workers?

September 26, 2023

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Some tips for postal workers on how they will be affected during a government shutdown.

Does Mail Stop During Government Shutdown?

Although many government services will be affected by the shutdown, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will remain uninterrupted in the case of a government shutdown, an agency spokesperson confirmed to Newsweek Monday morning.

“Postal Service operations will not be interrupted in the event of a government shutdown, and all Post Offices will remain open for business as usual,” the spokesperson wrote in a statement.

The USPS is funded through the sale of their products and services, rather than tax dollars. This means their funding is not included in the appropriations bills Congress must decide on by the end of the month to avert the shutdown.

Will Postal Retirees Get Their Annuity Payments?

Retirement benefits: Federal retirees in the Civil Service Retirement System and Federal Employees Retirement System will still receive their scheduled annuity payments during a shutdown. Contributions to the Thrift Savings Plan will be paused until the government reopens, though the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which administers the TSP, will remain open since their budget comes from employee contributions, not congressional appropriations.

Social Security payments?

“The bottom line is Social Security payments still go out even during a government shutdown,” he said, noting that disability payments will also continue being disbursed.

The agency’s field offices and call center will also remain open for assistance. Activities that will continue include applications for benefits, requests for appeals and issuance of original or replacement Social Security cards, according to the agency’s contingency plan from mid-August.

“We will continue activities critical to our direct-service operations and those needed to ensure accurate and timely payment of benefits,” the agency said in its contingency plan.

This is a change from the 1995 shutdown, when the agency’s field offices and call center closed initially, and its ability to mail accurate payments and process pending claims and appeals were affected.

However, if there is a shutdown starting October 1, some services will be temporarily suspended until the impasse is over. These include benefit verifications, which recipients often need when applying for assistance programs, and the replacing of Medicare cards, the agency said.

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