Alzheimer’s, CPI, Debts to USPS

Source: American Postal Worker Magazine Articles: July/August edition
Judy Beard, Director
Retirees Department

(This article first appeared in the July/August 2013 edition of The American Postal Worker.)

Alzheimer’s disease has touched the lives of most Americans, either through family members, friends or neighbors. Many of us have thought, “Are misplacing my keys a few times a month temporary moments of memory loss or a sign of Alzheimer’s?” The fear of the unknown and the uncertainty that comes with aging leads to many questions.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association (, one in nine seniors has Alzheimer’s disease, but half are undiagnosed. Early diagnosis is key to managing the disease.

In April, the HOPE for Alzheimer’s bill was introduced in Congress (S. 709 in the Senate and H.R. 1507 in the House). “HOPE” stands for Health Outcomes, Planning, and Education. The legislation would provide Medicare coverage for services such as diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and care-planning for the newly diagnosed.

The bill has bipartisan support, but not enough. Please contact your senators and representative and ask them to co-sponsor the bill.

We also encourage you to continue to voice support for the Postal Service Protection Act (S. 316 / H.R. 630). The legislation is urgently needed to provide financial relief to the USPS. The Postal Service Protection Act would end the agency’s pre-funding mandate; allow it to recover overpayments made to the federal Treasury; protect service standards and six-day delivery, and allow the USPS to offer new products and services to generate new revenue.

We also encourage you to continue to oppose the “chained CPI.” President Obama’s 2014 budget would use the chained Consumer Price Index (CPI) to calculate cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security recipients, which would lower living standards. We support strengthening Social Security, cutting tax loopholes for the very wealthy and corporations, and instituting the CPI-E, which more accurately reflects how seniors experience inflation.

Outstanding Debts

Reminder: A proposal by Retirees Department during the 2010 contract negotiations resulted in language that outlines the rights of retirees when faced with a USPS debt.

Before the Postal Service collects an alleged debt, retired USPS employees are entitled to written notice of the outstanding debt, including notice of the right to file a grievance. The retired employee must file a grievance within 14 days at his or her last office of employment. Once a grievance is filed, the Postal Service is prohibited from recovering the debt until the grievance procedure has been exhausted.

Department Grows

Thank you to the APWU locals, state unions, and retiree chapters that sponsored events honoring seniors and recent retirees during the last few months. Your programs help disseminate information about the department and the work we do.

We have more than 40,000 members and we are still growing! Retirees often remark that they take pride in continuing union membership and appreciate the benefits of belonging to APWU.