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It may be February, but holiday post office delays have yet to end

West Seneca postal worker accused of stealing and not delivering mail, including absentee ballots
Posted at 3:03 PM, Feb 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-03 15:03:48-05

Almost two months after the holiday season, the U.S. Postal Service is scrambling to catch up on millions of pieces of mail that have not yet been delivered — and it could be weeks still before mail delivery is back to normal.

Helen Forester is among those with late-arriving bills.

"I have one that was dated Dec. 24," she said. "But I didn't get it until the first week of January."

Frances Johnson was dealing with a late letter to the IRS.

"My IRS papers that I did file," she said. "They are late."

Laurie Brickner was almost penalized for a late HOA payment to her condo board.

"I sent my HOA fee in, and they never got it," she said.

Brickner works at a bank, where she now get complaints from customers about missing bank mail.

"It turns out a lot of people are not getting the checks they've ordered," she said. "And also, if they open up a new account and want a debit card, there's a delay in getting that."

Why the delays, and what you can do

The U.S. Postal Service said there are two main reasons for all these delays.

One, more people have been shipping a lot more packages during the pandemic. And two, there are staffing issues, with thousands of postal workers out on quarantine on any given day.

In a statement, the USPS said it is "experiencing unprecedented volume increases and limited employee availability due to the impacts of COVID-19."

But a report by NPR called "There's No End in Sight" paints a gloomy picture of the Postal Service. It says recent cuts to the postal budget have been devastating, with mail piling up in some sorting centers.

Recent posts from readers on the John Matarese Money Facebook Page have received almost 500 comments about late mail.

"It took 17 days for my rent check to get to my landlord," one reader said.

"I received an insurance bill the 16th of January and it was due the 13th," another reader said.

Brickner thinks the USPS needs to hire more people, quickly.

"It's an overall problem with the post office, and it needs to be addressed," she said.

While the post office works through the backlog, the best for consumers bet may be switching to paperless billing, so there's no risk of an electric, cable or credit card bill arriving late, resulting in penalties.

Oh, and don't blame the mail carrier; they are working as hard as they can.

As always, don't waste your money.

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