Returning soon

The Postal Service will resume sales of the Alzheimer’s semipostal fundraising stamp Oct. 5 following a rule change announced last week.

The Semipostal Authorization Act grants the Postal Service authority to issue and sell semipostal fundraising stamps to advance causes deemed to be “in the national public interest and appropriate.”

Before the rule change, the Postal Service was permitted to offer only one semipostal stamp of its choosing for a two-year period, in addition to any semipostal stamps mandated by Congress. The change eliminates this restriction, allowing USPS to resume the sale of the Alzheimer’s semipostal stamp, which debuted in 2017.

The Federal Register’s Sept. 4 edition has more information about the rule change.

The price of the stamp includes the First-Class Mail single-piece postage rate in effect at the time of purchase plus an amount to fund Alzheimer’s research.

By law, revenue from sales of the Alzheimer’s semipostal stamp — minus the postage paid and the reimbursement of reasonable costs incurred by the Postal Service — will be distributed to the National Institutes of Health, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Ethel Kessler served as art director for the stamp, while artist Matt Mahurin created the design.

Share your feedback at uspslink@usps.gov. Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.

Survivor benefits

Do you know about survivor benefits and how they work?

You can make one of the following survivor benefit elections to occur in the event of your death:

  • No survivor benefits
  • Full or partial annuity for spouse
  • Full or partial annuity for former spouse
  • Combination of full or partial annuity for a spouse and former spouse

If you retire under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS), the maximum survivor benefit payable is 55 percent of your gross annual annuity. If you retire under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), the maximum survivor benefit is 50 percent of your gross annual annuity.

If you’re in good health and retire for reasons other than disability, you may provide a survivor annuity to a spouse, ex-spouse or someone with an insurable interest, such as a person to whom you are engaged or a relative closer than first cousins.

If you elect less than the maximum survivor annuity for your spouse, the law requires your spouse’s notarized written consent. His or her consent is required even if there is a qualifying court order awarding the survivor annuity to a former spouse.

Under specific circumstances, children can receive survivor benefits from CSRS and FERS employees and retirees.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management website has more information about survivors benefits, while the Wellness LiteBlue page has guidance on maintaining your physical, emotional and financial health.

Share your feedback at uspslink@usps.gov. Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.

Down to business

The Postal Service has introduced an updated training course required for all business system owners.

The course is intended for employees who are functional coordinators for various USPS systems, such as the Time and Attendance Collection System and VPN Access, and will show participants how to protect these resources from cyberthreats.

The System Owner Essentials course will also provide an overview of the technology solution life cycle process, including how to detect security problems early and how to prevent most cyberattacks from happening.

System owners can access the course through HERO. The deadline for completion is Sept. 30.

System owners who don’t meet the deadline are subject to limited ACE system access until all the courses are completed.

Refer to the CyberSafe at USPS Blue training page or send an email to CyberSafeComms@usps.gov for more information.

Greeting cards

USPS is offering a promotion on greeting cards at select Post Office locations.

Customers and employees will save $1 when they purchase two Hallmark cards.

Available wherever Hallmark greeting cards are sold, the promotion began Aug. 24 and will continue through Sept. 27.

The promotion, part of a Postal Service awareness campaign, is also intended to showcase Thinking of You Week, which will be observed from Sept. 21-27.

News Briefs

Scanning snapshot

A snapshot of Postal Service scanning data shows the national rating was 96.85 percent during the week ending Sept. 4, down two-tenths of a point from one week earlier.

The data was collected Sept. 9.

Western-Pacific led the four areas with a rating of 97.03 percent, followed by Central (97.02 percent), Southern (96.71 percent) and Atlantic (96.67 percent).

Among the 67 districts, Dakotas, part of Western-Pacific Area, ranked first (98.62 percent), while Baltimore, part of Atlantic Area, ranked last (93.56 percent).

Scanning data allows customers to track their mail and packages, which helps USPS deliver excellent service, boost loyalty and drive revenue.

To see the latest data, go to the Informed Visibility website and select “Customer Experience,” followed by “DES 2 Scan Performance.”

Correo electoral. The recently launched Election Mail website aimed at providing information and resources to voters and election officials is now available in Spanish.

The English version of the site features a toggle button in the top-right corner that allows the user to switch to the site’s Spanish-language companion. The site can also be accessed directly at usps.com/votinginfo/es.

Got news? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.