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U.S. Postal Rate Increase
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Warroad, Minnesota
Artificial Heart Invention
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Frequently Asked Postage and Mail Questions

Below you'll find answers to a variety of frequently asked questions regarding U.S. postage and mail.

Our page of U.S. postage rates, and our comprehensive list of U.S. Postal Service mail holidays - UPS holidays - FedEx holidays may answer other postage and mail holiday questions you have.


Do I need to add additional postage to my forever stamps now that postage rates have increased?

No. The "forever" First-Class mail stamp is good for any future single-piece First-Class letter mailing, no matter how high postage prices might rise in the future. Forever stamps are intended to eliminate the inconvenience of having to buy new stamps every time the rates increase. All Forever stamps that you may have purchased at a lower rate will still be valid as First-Class postage without adding any additional postage.


My (unused) U.S. stamps have an old year on them. Are they still good?

It doesn't matter how old they are -- Your unused U.S. postage stamps will always remain valid for the amount shown on the stamp. If you have a Forever stamp with an old year on it, it will remain valid "forever" as First-Class postage without adding any additional postage.


Does a large Manila envelope cost more to mail than a standard size envelope?

Yes. Just look for the heading "First-Class retail flats (Manila envelopes)" on our page of U.S. postage rates. It shows prices for Manila, Tyvek and other similar large, flat envelopes, in addition to postage costs for smaller retail parcels, and other USPS fees and service charges, as well as information on shape-based pricing.


Can I use Forever stamps to send international mail?

Yes, you can use USPS Forever stamps for international mail, but remember that international postage rates are higher than domestic postage, so you will need to attach additional postage. The value of your Forever stamps is equal to the domestic First-Class Mail one-ounce letter price that is in effect on the day you use them.


When contract negotiations with postal worker unions reach an impasse, will they strike, and mail delivery stop?

No. When contracts with unions expire, or postal labor negotiations fail, U.S. postal employees are not permitted to strike because Congress has designated the Postal Service as an essential service to the nation.


When did postage rates increase in 2012?

First-Class mail stamps (1 ounce) increased 1 cent to 45 cents on January 22, 2012.


When did postage rates increase in 2011?

The price for a First-Class Mail stamp did not increase in 2010, or 2011. First-Class letter additional ounces (for letters over 1 ounce) did increase from 17 to 20 cents, and postcards increased from 28 to 29 cents on April 17, 2011. See U.S. Postal Rate Increases for more information.


When did postage rates increase in 2009?

A one ounce First-Class stamp increased from 42 to 44 cents on May 11, 2009.


Can a dog attack on a letter carrier or loose dogs really halt mail delivery to a neighborhood?
0

Yes. The safety of its employees is a top priority for the U.S. Postal Service. If a letter carrier fears for their safety due to a loose or unrestrained pet, mail delivery may be curtailed. Homeowners in the area may be asked to pick up their mail at the Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet is properly restrained.

Even the most responsible dog owner who's absolutely certain, "My dog won't bite," may be surprised by the aggressive behavior of their dog when a letter carrier enters "their" yard. Dogs can be protective of their territory and may interpret the actions of letter carriers as a threat. Pregnant dogs may be especially protective and more prone to bite. Given the right circumstances, any dog can bite. Please take precautions when accepting mail in the presence of your pet. When a carrier comes to your home, keep your dog inside, away from the door in another room. Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to roam and bite. Dogs that receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time, frequently turn into biters. Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dogs.


Aren't postage increases limited by the inflation rate? What is an exigent price increase?
1

Consistent with the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, price increases are capped at the rate of inflation for mailing services. That law also gave the Postal Service the right to file a rate case with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for postage increases that go above the rate of inflation due to extraordinary or exceptional circumstances. The effects of the recent recession, coupled with the worldwide shift to digital communications, resulted in plummeting U.S. mail volumes and massive losses for the USPS. July 6, 2010, the USPS announced it was seeking an increase of 2 cents to the cost of a First-Class Mail stamp, which would have raised the price to 46 cents on January 2, 2011. In September 2010, the Postal Regulatory Commission turned down their request for that 2 cent First-Class Mail stamp increase.


Why is a new mailman delivering my mail, and at different times each day?
2

Adjustment of carrier routes and mail route consolidations have been necessary in many locations across the country as a result of the plummeting mail volume in recent years, increased use of the Internet for communications, the popularity of online electronic bill payment, and the sluggish economy. In some cases, letter carriers have been assigned new routes, while other routes have been made longer, or restructured to streamline mail delivery. This may result in widely varied mail delivery times. Once final adjustments are made to the new delivery routes, mail delivery times should settle down to a more consistent timeframe.


Why are they closing so many post offices and mail sorting centers?
3

Streamlining their mailing operations and facilities is just part of a larger overall USPS strategy to remain economically viable into the future. Despite increased productivity, and billions in cost-cutting measures, the U.S. Postal Service has still faced billions of dollars in losses in recent years.

$2.8 Billion loss for fiscal year 2008 (Oct. 1, 2007 - Sept. 30, 2008)
$3.8 Billion loss for 2009
$8.5 Billion loss for 2010
$5.1 Billion loss for 2011

The USPS reports that its massive nationwide infrastructure is no longer financially sustainable. Their decision to close or consolidate Post Offices, stations, branches, and mail processing facilities came only after a study was undertaken that examined a wide range of stations and branches in urban and suburban areas across the country, focusing on offices that were in close proximity to one another, in order to determine where consolidations might be feasible, while maintaining customer access to postal services.

Other cost-cutting measures undertaken in recent years:
* Instituting a nationwide hiring freeze.
* Halting construction of new postal facilities.
* Selling unused and under-utilized postal facilities.
* Adjusting Post Office hours to better reflect customer use.
* Freezing salaries of U.S. Postal Service officers and executives.
* Reducing authorized staffing levels at national and regional offices.
* Voluntary early retirement buyouts for thousands of postal employees.
* Cutting more than 100 million work hours, while increasing worker productivity.
* Adjusting carrier routes to reflect diminished mail volume, and eliminating nearly 12,000 carrier routes.


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