PRC Affirms USPS Overpaid $50 Billion to Retirement Fund

OPM Must Reconsider Calculations

The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) released an independent actuarial report [PDF] on June 30 which confirms that the Postal Service was overcharged $50-$55 billion for payments to the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) between 1972 and 2009. The report recommended an “adjustment” of $50-$55 billion in favor of the Postal Service.

The PRC has submitted the report to Congress and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which administers the fund. By law, OPM must reconsider its calculation of the Postal Service’s pension assets in light of the report; make any appropriate adjustments, and submit the results of its reconsideration to the Commission, the Postal Service, and Congress.

“There seems to be agreement that an updated recognition and disposition of any surplus, if it is to take place promptly, will require Congressional action,” the report noted.

The Postal Service is facing severe budget deficits due to a requirement of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) that the USPS must “pre-fund” future retiree healthcare benefits at a cost of more than $5 billion a year for 10 years. To help restore the Postal Service to financial health, postal unions and other “stakeholders” have been urging Congress to relieve the USPS of the pre-funding obligation – a burden that no other government agency or private business bears.

“The APWU has opposed the elimination of Saturday mail delivery and other cutbacks,” said APWU President William Burrus. “This finding denies the Postal Service any excuse for refusing to provide the American people the service they have received for more than 200 years.”

The PRC study, Civil Service Retirement System Cost and Benefit Allocation Principles, [PDF] was commissioned by the PRC in response to a request by the USPS. It followed a Jan. 20, 2010, report by the USPS Inspector General [PDF] which concluded that the Postal Service had overpaid CSRS obligations by $75 billion.