Money’s worth

USPS and the Internal Revenue Service are encouraging employees to conduct a paycheck checkup to determine whether they need to update their tax withholding for 2020.

Updating federal withholding is especially important for employees who had an unexpectedly high tax bill or a penalty this year.

Similarly, employees who have had a major life change — such as marriage, birth of a child or purchase of a home — might have to adjust their tax withholding.

To ensure the right amount of tax is withheld during the year, employees can use the IRS.gov Tax Withholding Estimator.

The mobile-friendly tool uses a plain language, step-by-step format to enter wages and withholding for each job held by a taxpayer and spouse.

Employees will need their most recent pay statements, information on other sources of income — and, if applicable, a spouse’s income — and most recent income tax return.

The estimator will determine the expected tax withholding and anticipated tax obligation.

The tool also automatically calculates the taxable portion of any Social Security benefits, provides tips to help quickly determine qualifications for tax credits and deductions, and more.

At the end of the process, the tool makes specific withholding recommendations and clearly explains what the taxpayer should do next based on the estimator results.

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

Are you stocked?

USPS wants Post Offices to ensure they have an adequate supply of burial flags on hand for customers who request them.

Through the organization’s Burial Flag Program, all retail Post Offices serve as a burial flag repository.

Employees must use the eBuyPlus system to order U.S. flags for the program. Flags will be shipped from the Topeka, KS, Material Distribution Center (MDC).

Flags were previously replenished by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) upon receipt of a completed VA Form 27-2008 along with supplemental eligibility documentation provided by a deceased veteran’s family member or funeral director.

Employees should no longer contact VA to order these flags.

However, following the flag issuance, it is critical that employees complete a current VA Form 27-2008 and mail it within three days to the following address, superseding form instructions:

Memorial Programs Service (41A1)
Department of Veterans Affairs
5109 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134-3903

Flag issuance must not be delayed or refused because additional documentation — including discharge paperwork such as a DD Form 214 — is not available at the time of request, as long as the applicant signs VA Form 27-2008, certifying eligibility.

Orders for burial flags should be placed through eBuyPlus (NSN 8345006561432) and fulfilled by MDC in accordance with the 2020 Post Office Burial Flag Replenishment SOP.

For emergency burial flag requests, contact MDC at 800-332-0317 or MDC.CustomerService@usps.gov.

Front lines

The Postal Service is a global powerhouse — processing and delivering 48 percent of the world’s mail. This makes the organization reliant upon a strong technology network to ensure uninterrupted performance.

Protecting this network is the job of the Corporate Information Security Office (CISO), which USPS is highlighting throughout National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October.

CISO includes a cybersecurity operations portfolio, managed by Lynne Mitchell, that responds quickly to internal and external cyberthreats. Much of this work is handled by two cybersecurity operations centers that monitor the USPS network round-the-clock for suspicious activity, keep postal leaders informed, and respond to alerts, calls and emails from employees across the nation.

The cybersecurity operations team’s responsibilities also include:

  • Detecting insider threats, which occur when employees, vendors or others don’t do their part to protect proprietary or personnel data or other information
  • Responding to incidents, including analyzing and addressing cybersecurity issues that could affect the postal network
  • Managing threat intelligence, including forecasting, monitoring and hunting internal and external cyberthreats
  • Helping USPS preserve and produce electronic documents needed for litigation, investigations and regulatory matters
  • Working with the broader CISO organization to respond to changes along the ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape

The National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Blue page and the CyberSafe at USPS Blue and LiteBlue pages have more information about CISO, the cybersecurity operations team and related topics.

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

Looking ahead

Postal Service employees can participate in an upcoming webinar on long-term care insurance and retirement planning.

The session, “Understanding FLTCIP 3.0,” will be held Thursday, Oct. 15, at 2 p.m. EDT.

The administrators of the Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP) will conduct the webinar, which will explore the realities of long-term care, family caregiving and funding options such as Medicaid.

The presentation will also include a thorough review of FLTCIP benefits and features, including costs.

Lisa Roussel, a long-term care program expert, will review FLTCIP eligibility requirements and the application process. She’ll also discuss online resources to assist eligible employees and qualified relatives in exploring program options.

There will be a live Q&A session following the event. Current FLTCIP enrollees are encouraged to attend.

Employees interested in participating should use the Google Chrome browser to register before the session on the webinar website. After signing up, directions will be emailed to each registrant.

Participation is voluntary. Nonexempt employees may only participate off the clock or during authorized breaks.

To learn more about FLTCIP, go to LTCFeds.com or call 800-582-3337. For more information, email the USPS Health and Wellness team.

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

News Briefs

Scanning snapshot

A snapshot of Postal Service scanning data shows the national rating was 97.04 percent during the week ending Oct. 2, down 0.05 percent from one week earlier.

The data was collected Oct. 7.

Central led the four areas with a rating of 97.38 percent, followed by Western-Pacific (97.21 percent), Atlantic (97.09 percent) and Southern (96.61 percent).

Among the 67 districts, Dakotas, part of Western-Pacific Area, ranked first with a rating of 98.8 percent, while Atlanta, part of Southern Area, ranked last with a 94.14 percent rating.

Western Pacific Area’s Santa Ana District was the week’s biggest gainer: The district scored a 95.59 percent rating, up 2.13 percent from one week earlier. The biggest loss was recorded by Southern Area’s Alabama District, where the rating was 96.13 percent, down 1.18 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.”

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