Ready to deliver

Letter Carrier Manprit Singh

The Postal Service plans to deliver almost 15 billion pieces of mail and 900 million packages this holiday season.

The estimates, released Nov. 13, cover the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

“The Postal Service is ready to deliver for the holiday season. We have increased our operating capacity to include additional transportation and extended our delivery windows,” said Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan. “Our dedicated employees are proud to deliver more packages to homes than any other shipper.”

USPS expects to deliver almost 200 million packages per week during the two-week period that begins Dec. 10. The organization predicts the week of Dec. 17-23 will be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week, when employees are expected to process almost 3 billion pieces of First-Class Mail, including greeting cards.

Beginning Nov. 25, the Postal Service will expand its Sunday delivery operations to locations with high package volumes. The organization expects to deliver more than 8 million packages each Sunday in December.

USPS will also deliver packages Christmas Day in select locations.

Additionally, the Postal Service expects to process more than 16 million pounds of mail for overseas Department of Defense and Department of State recipients. Both agencies measure their mail volume in pounds, not pieces.

USPS is encouraging customers to use usps.com throughout the holiday season. The Postal Service expects the busiest day online will be Dec. 17, when the site will receive 8 million customers, including 400,000 Click-N-Ship users.

Almost 105 million customers are expected to use the site between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

The Postal Service is also reminding customers to sign up for Informed Delivery, a free feature that allows consumers to view incoming mail, track packages and reschedule deliveries.

‘Behind the Scenes’

The Postal Service’s latest “Behind the Scenes” video shows viewers how the organization created this year’s holiday TV commercials.

The video features Carilla Hayden, a Chicago letter carrier who appears in the advertisements as a carrier who encounters Santa Claus while delivering mail and packages to a home at Christmastime.

“I love Christmas … and I really feel like at this job, I get to be a real key player in Christmas,” Hayden says in the behind-the-scenes video.

The 1-minute, 40-second segment also features Marketing Vice President Steve Monteith, who explains how the TV campaign incorporates the new Sparkling Holidays stamps, as well as Santa himself, who shares his enthusiasm for Informed Delivery.

“Now I can see all the letters from the children all over the world, right here,” Santa says as he reviews his Informed Delivery notifications on his mobile phone.

The ad, titled Surprise Encounter,” began airing Nov. 9 and is part of a holiday campaign that also includes mailers to employees and customers, radio spots, social media posts and more.

It’s so easy

Woman using a laptop computer

Need help figuring out which health care, dental and vision plan is best for you during open season?

If so, you can use Checkbook’s Guide to Health Plans on the Open Season LiteBlue page to compare available options.

Once you’re ready to make a change, use PostalEASE to enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHB) or the USPS Health Benefits Plan (USPSHBP).

You can access PostalEASE from the Benefits Enrollment Changes page on the Open Season LiteBlue page or by calling the employee service line at 877-477-3273 (select option 1). The Federal Relay Service number is 800-877-8339.

To make changes to your dental or vision plans, log on to the Benefeds site or call 877-888-3337 (TTY: 877-899-5680).

To enroll in a flexible spending account, use the FSA Feds site or call 877-372-3337 (TTY: 800-952-0450).

Open season, the annual period when you can make changes to your health coverage, began this week and ends Monday, Dec. 10.

Need to know

Laptop screen showing map of the United States

GIS revolutionizes USPS. Wednesday, Nov. 14, is National GIS Day, an annual observation to demonstrate how geospatial applications are used to educate the public on geographic information systems.

GIS provides a variety of capabilities designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage and visualize geographical data.

The Postal Service’s Office of Addressing and Geospatial Technology (AGT) uses existing mapping technology to support visualization, services and analytics throughout the organization.

AGT, a division of Enterprise Analytics, is located in Memphis, TN.

To help employees learn more about geospatial technology, AGT has produced a story map on projects and visualizations. You can view the map at the Geospatial Analytics site.

For more information, refer to the Postal Service’s recent Management Instruction on the topic.

Relocation expenses deadline. Postal Service employees seeking reimbursement for relocation expenses this year should submit their requests before Wednesday, Nov. 21.

This will allow USPS to adequately capture and report all relocation expenses for 2018 tax purposes.

Any relocation expense reports received after Nov. 21 will be processed for payment Wednesday, Jan. 2.

Employees who have questions can refer them to their relocation counselor.

Holiday operations. The Postal Service is providing general operating policy and planning guidance for the Thanksgiving holiday, which will be observed Thursday, Nov. 22.

A new memo, available on Blue, explains guidelines for delivery, retail, processing and logistics operations.

Got news for “Need to know”? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.

One year on

Hand of a younger person hold the hand of an older person

The Postal Service released its Alzheimer’s semipostal stamp almost one year ago. To mark the occasion, here are some facts about the disease, courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Association.

1. Millions are living with Alzheimer’s disease. More than 5.7 million Americans have Alzheimer’s. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to nearly 14 million.

2. Alzheimer’s is growing. From 2000-2015, deaths from heart disease decreased 11 percent while deaths from Alzheimer’s increased 123 percent. Every 65 seconds, someone in the United States develops the disease.

3. Alzheimer’s is deadly. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. One in 3 people 65 and older dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia — this is more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combined.

4. Care is costly. More than 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. These caregivers provided an estimated 18.4 billion hours of care valued at more than $232 billion.

5. Costs are increasing. In 2018, Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the nation $277 billion. By 2050, these costs could rise as high as $1.1 trillion a year. Early and accurate diagnosis could save up to $7.9 trillion in medical and care costs.

Got ideas for future editions of “The list”? Email them to uspslink@usps.gov.