GAO: No refund for USPS overpayment to retirement account

This story has been updated from the original version.

The U.S. Postal Service is not owed a $75 billion refund for an overpayment to its retirement account, according to a new audit.

In a report released Thursday, the Government Accountability Office found that USPS did not contribute excess funds to its Civil Service Retirement System account, as postal officials and other auditors have claimed. The Postal Service has asked for a refund equal to that overpayment, which the agency says would help put it back on the path to fiscal health.

At issue is a 1974 law regulating pension funding. The USPS inspector general last year reported that the agency overpaid its CSRS account by $75 billion after the Office of Personnel Management incorrectly made the Postal Service fund a higher portion of the pensions than it owed. According to GAO, no such error has occurred.

"The key impacts of transferring assets out of the CSRS fund to USPS based on the current proposals would be to increase the federal government's current and future unfunded pension liability by an estimated $56 billion to $85 billion," GAO wrote. "This liability would then be funded by the federal government using tax revenue, borrowing or both."

GAO did not dispute a $6.9 billion overpayment to the Postal Service's Federal Employees Retirement System account, however.

The CSRS issue has caused conflict between postal officials and those who say no overpayment has occurred, including OPM and some lawmakers. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has said returning the $75 billion to USPS would amount to a taxpayer-funded bailout.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee passed Issa's reform legislation Thursday 22-18. The bill would allow USPS to drop a delivery day and adjust its pay and benefits structure, as well as create two oversight bodies to manage the agency's finances and labor contracts.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said Congress should set aside the CSRS issue and focus on reform proposals more likely to gain wider support. Carper has introduced legislation that would allow delivery day reduction and reduce pension funding requirements, among other measures.

"Now that Congress has pushed back the Postal Service's $5.5 annual prepayment for future retiree costs until Nov. 18, we have some much needed breathing room to develop a robust reform package that will address the Postal Service's short and long-term financial challenges," Carper said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.