By Donna Fuscaldo, AARP, January 2024
Before you head out to the Post Office, here's what you'll find that is new. Through snow, rain, heat and gloom of night, the U.S. Postal Service has delivered mail to Americans for nearly 250 years. That core task remains the same, but that doesn’t mean everything stays the same in 2024. From the price of stamps to procedures for forwarding mail, here are five things that will be different at USPS this year.
1. Stamp prices are going up
Like other businesses, the post office is passing along its increased costs to its customers. Effective Jan. 21, a first-class “Forever” stamp will increase 2 cents to 68 cents. Across the board, prices are increasing about 2 percent.
2. ID is required for forwarding mail
Aiming to clamp down on identity theft and protect customers’ information, the USPS is beefing up its procedures to verify your identity when you request a change of address. Now you must show ID either in person at your local post office or verify your identity online. A change of address request or COA has to be submitted 90 days before the date of your move and up to 30 days after your move.
If you are doing it in person …
Bring one of the following to your local post office:
State issued driver’s license or nondriver’s license identification card (name and address must match the old or new address on your request)
Uniformed Services Identification Card (requires a secondary form of identification)
U.S. passport (requires a secondary form of identification)
Lease, mortgage or deed of trust
Voter or vehicle registration card
Home or vehicle insurance policy or card
The name and address on any secondary ID must match the old or new address on your change of address request.
If you are doing it online ...
An email address is required for online COA submission.
A one-time passcode or verification link will be texted to your cellphone.
A $1.10 credit card identity verification fee will be charged to your credit card.
The billing address on the credit card must match either the old or the new address used in the COA request. Prepaid cards and gift cards are not accepted.
If the online verification fails, you’ll have to visit the post office.
3. Four new stamps are being released with more to come
In a nod to iconic games, legendary coaches, influential artists and American pastimes, the USPS has a series of new stamps planned for 2024 that includes:
Dungeons & Dragons: The stamp release marks the 50th anniversary of one of America’s most famous role-playing board games. The pane of 20 stamps features 10 different designs highlighting characters, creatures and other elements of the game.
John Wooden: Considered in many circles to be one of America’s greatest coaches, John Wooden (1910-2010) led the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins to a record-setting 10 Division I men’s basketball national championships. The stamp features a portrait of Wooden.
Carnival nights: From roller coasters to hot dogs, carnivals are a staple of summertime fun for many Americans. Ten new stamps in a pane of 20 feature photographs capturing the energy and lights of a summer carnival at night.
Ansel Adams: Showcasing the American landscape through photographs, Ansel Adams is among the most influential artists of the 20th century. To honor his art and contributions, the USPS is releasing 16 stamps featuring some of Adams’ most famous images.
4. Mail volume will decline and losses will grow
USPS expected to lose $4.5 billion in fiscal 2023 but actually reported a net loss of $6.5 billion, thanks in part to declining mail volumes, residual effects from previous pricing strategies and inflation. For 2024, the USPS projects another net loss of $6.3 billion. Meanwhile, total mail and package volume is projected to be 107.2 billion pieces, down 7.7 percent year over year.
While first-class mail will be down, USPS foresees an increase in package delivery as it aggressively tries to grow its market share in that area. In the summer it launched USPS Ground Advantage, which is a cheaper way to ship packages in two-to-five business days across the United States.
5. Better service and speedier delivery are expected
As part of its Delivering for America plan, USPS is consolidating its 19,000 delivery centers into new larger and more centrally located sorting and delivery centers. So far six facilities are operational. The USPS is evaluating over 100 new locations across the country this year and says the actions will enable it to expand same-day/next-day shipping, improve on-time performance and offer returns back in one-day service. No post offices will be closed or services impacted by the shakeup.