USPS Mail Handler Assistant

General TSP Discussion.

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CSI
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Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 3:55 pm

USPS Mail Handler Assistant

Post by CSI »

My nephew will be starting soon as an MHA for the USPS, does anyone know if he can participate in the TSP.

crondanet5
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Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:51 pm

Re: USPS Mail Handler Assistant

Post by crondanet5 »

Tell him to join the union and ask his shop steward. He should also sign up for the Mailhandler medical insurance program. It is widely used in federal agencies and has excellent coverage.

Koastiek
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Re: USPS Mail Handler Assistant

Post by Koastiek »

If your nephew is covered by the new FERS-FRAE and is in a pay status, either full time or part-time, then he most likely is entitled to TSP. Instead of asking the steward though, I would recommend that he call his HR Specialist (Benefits Section) and follow that conversation up with an e-mail back to him or her so there is no miscommunication. Additionally and I'm only guessing, the job announcement to which he applied probably had a reference to him being authorized TSP among other benefits.

rlinehan
Posts: 96
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:37 pm

Re: USPS Mail Handler Assistant

Post by rlinehan »

Funny that you should mention “union,” Cron. Try finding that info at the mail handler union website, www.npmhu.org.

It’s not there because the union doesn’t like the idea of assistants, as it was rammed down its throat by an arbitrator, AND it creates a second tier of employee.

One that isn’t career and thus isn’t eligible for many benefits enjoyed by career employees -- until elevation to career status, usually after at least a year:

http://about.usps.com/news/state-releas ... 3_0313.htm

http://www.npmhu.org/media/update/welco ... assistants

I’m not sure about their union, but the carrier union offers its assistants a retirement savings plan that can be transferred into TSP once the assistants make career status:

http://www.nalc.org/member-benefits/bod ... me_cca.pdf

Note the box in the lower right-hand corner of the page:

“When CCAs [city carrier assistants] become career employees, they can join the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and will have the option to transfer their funds from the MBA [Mutual Benefit Association].”

But, as many people at this site have noted, the TSP is a poor retirement savings vehicle, and one can do much better elsewhere, through Roth or traditional IRAs. The only real advantage of TSP is the employer match, which mail handler assistants won’t enjoy until they achieve career status. If the nephew contributes to an IRA during his assistantship, he should keep that IRA once he achieves career status – and continue contributing to it once he’s maximized the employer match to TSP.

But even that is not the real issue: The “postal service” is bankrupt and on its last legs – not a place to seek one’s future, still less to retire from:

http://www.heritage.org/research/report ... ure#_ftn13

http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/magazine/co ... 885070.htm

http://www.govexec.com/oversight/2015/0 ... ce/111976/?

Sure, the MHA position is OK as a temporary job (which it is) for a young person.

But for one’s future and, especially, one’s retirement, one should keep looking elsewhere.

crondanet5
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Re: USPS Mail Handler Assistant

Post by crondanet5 »

That's why I suggested union and steward. The Post Office must be the most Draconian employer in the federal system. Without the union they can force you to do practically anything, and will. The new hires need protection. Oh the Harvard Case Studies in Mismanagement the PO offers the professor in need of publishing a new book.

But Koastiek's suggestion is a good one too and worth pursuing.

Linehan have you heard about the "0" hours employment system in England? You are employed, but have no idea how many hours you will work in a week. Think you could put food on the table working in that system?

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CSI
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Re: USPS Mail Handler Assistant

Post by CSI »

This forum is great really good advice.
I agree that an IRA is the best option but have to be careful not to overstep my bounds with respect to my brother.

I'm very pro union and he's already joined, but I also want him to form a habit of living within his means "after" savings.

He's only 21, so his opportunities are golden if he starts now.
I prefer the TSP at this point because of auto deposit. If he doesn't see it, he won't spend it.

Health insurance: I believe he can remain under his parents til age 26.

Thanks for the feedback, I'll update when I have more answers.

crondanet5
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Re: USPS Mail Handler Assistant

Post by crondanet5 »

Approach your brother on the idea of the TSP participation is a deferred pay raise he'll get later when he can really use it. And participating will lower his taxes. He doesn't want to make less than he could does he?

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CSI
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Re: USPS Mail Handler Assistant

Post by CSI »

crondanet5 wrote:Approach your brother on the idea of the TSP participation is a deferred pay raise he'll get later when he can really use it.

Cron, I would like to but my brother is totally non-approachable. I love'em but have to accept him for who he is.

I can talk to my nephew about the TSP but I don't think he's eligible as a non career worker.

rlinehan
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Re: USPS Mail Handler Assistant

Post by rlinehan »

You are correct, CSI, about health insurance for MHAs:

“MHAs also will have limited access to subsidized health insurance in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.”

http://www.postal-reporter.com/blog/usp ... ion-award/

That is, they not covered under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program.

Just as they are not eligible for FERS-FRAE.

Or TSP:

“If you are an eligible career employee, you may enroll in or change your TSP at any time.
“If you are a newly-hired career employee, you are eligible to make a TSP election at any time. You will automatically receive an enrollment package by mail at your address of record shortly after your career appointment."

https://liteblue.usps.gov/humanresource ... plan.shtml?

MHAs, to repeat, are not career employees:

http://about.usps.com/news/state-releas ... 3_0313.htm

“The U.S. Postal Service is hiring for a new non-career Mail Handler Assistant position
“Starting pay is $13.75 an hour and there are limited employee benefits in the first year of employment.
“Hours of work will vary based on mail volume.”

And Koastiek’s advice is spot on:

“I would recommend that he call his HR Specialist (Benefits Section) and follow that conversation up with an e-mail back to him or her so there is no miscommunication.”

For the PO, the main HR answer center is:

Shared Human Resources Center
HRSSC/Compensation & Benefits
PO Box 970400
Greensboro, NC 27497-0400
Call: HRSSC at 1-877-477-3273
Fax: 336-662-4070

Note, no email address.

The place is reviewed here:

http://gethuman.com/contact/USPS-Human- ... -Services/

Note average wait time: 31 minutes.

And the following comments:

• “Helped me very well. Once they understood my questions. Now all I have to do is wait for the packet in the mail. Hopefully all the forms will be in there!”

• “Wuold be nice if someone would answer the phone”

• “Referred to another number”

• “good.but did not resolve my issue”

So be prepared with whatever questions you have if you call that number: The position is Mail Handler Assistant, it is non-career, and it isn’t eligible for FEHBP or FERS-FRAE.

That way, you and your nephew can avoid the “miscommunication” Koastiek mentioned.

And get an email address for followup, as s/he suggested.

Your nephew should also check with his union to see if it offers retirement savings plans for MHAs, as the NALC does for CCAs.

IRA contributions can be deducted from one’s paycheck, just like TSP and bank deposits. Check on that, too. For the PO, the place one does that is PostalEASE, which can be accessed by phone or internet.

As for “He's only 21, so his opportunities are golden if he starts now,” Absolutely!

Here’s how one can provide one’s own retirement financing program:

http://www.fedsmith.com/2013/02/06/can- ... -security/

You can perform the calculations made in the above article yourself at:

http://www.calcxml.com/calculators/ret09

Meanwhile, keep looking for a better job than USPS mail handler assistant.

ravnrob2
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:52 pm

Re: USPS Mail Handler Assistant

Post by ravnrob2 »

no he cant get tsp...MHA is the PSE version for a clerk. PSE's and MHA's are not career employees...only careers employees are entitled to TSP

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CSI
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Re: USPS Mail Handler Assistant

Post by CSI »

Wow-Great info rlinehan
Since the health care is covered by his parents, I'll wait til he settles in to the new job before approaching him about an IRA. I have great rapport with my nephew but timing is everything.

rlinehan
Posts: 96
Joined: Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:37 pm

Re: USPS Mail Handler Assistant

Post by rlinehan »

Right on, ravnrob2!

Sure, CSI, and as his loving uncle, you could start an IRA for your nephew, then turn it over to him to fund himself.

The FedSmith article talks about $76 a month contribution.

Imagine what would happen with $100!

Then momentum would be on your side -- Big Time!

Just saying.

The possibilities are many.

And the miracle of compounding glorious!

crondanet5
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Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:51 pm

Re: USPS Mail Handler Assistant

Post by crondanet5 »

Can the nephew join the union?

TSPOSTAL
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Re: USPS Mail Handler Assistant

Post by TSPOSTAL »

I work with many PSEs and MHAs, they don't have TSP until they become career employees, they can join the union and their dues are about 25% less than what I pay. At my facility, PSEs and MHAs are made career employees within the first 2 years.

User avatar
CSI
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Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 3:55 pm

Re: USPS Mail Handler Assistant

Post by CSI »

crondanet5 wrote:Can the nephew join the union?

Yep, he's already joined.

rlinehan wrote:Sure, CSI, and as his loving uncle, you could start an IRA for your nephew, then turn it over to him to fund himself.

Spot On, that's my plan, and when he see's ETFs like EURL and NUGT outperform it will perk his interest.

Thanks all, very helpful!

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