USPS Just Announced This Major Delivery Change, Starting Aug. 1

Here's how the shift will affect when your letters and packages arrive.

If it seems like the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is constantly announcing changes, that's at least in part because the agency has been undergoing an overhaul as part of a 10-year reform plan. The Postal Service has experienced lingering financial difficulties as well as a staffing shortage, which were intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading President Joe Biden to sign the Postal Service Reform Act on April 6. Recent changes have included price hikes and altered delivery speeds. Now, the USPS has announced another major change, which Americans can expect to see as soon as Aug. 1. Read on to find out what delivery change the USPS has in store.

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This is just the latest update from the USPS.

stack of mail with postage
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Over the past several months, the USPS has enacted a number of changes to its services, including new shipping fees for packages with nonstandard dimensions and slower delivery rates for a portion of First-Class packages.

In July, Americans may also experience a price hike for First-Class mail, which will be upped by approximately 6.5 percent. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy spoke out about the "uncomfortable" increase, warning Americans to be prepared for continually rising rates over the next few years. The Postal Service Board of Governors is responsible for setting postage rates, the Associated Press reported, but DeJoy said he will be pushing for price hikes until the agency has "accomplished our objective of projecting a trajectory that shows us being self-sustaining."

While it may seem like the news is always somewhat disappointing when it comes to the USPS, the agency has made some positive changes, including closing all post offices on June 20 to recognize the Juneteenth holiday this year. And more good news is coming, as you'll soon be receiving certain mail a bit faster.

Service standards have shifted again.

us postal truck in san francisco
davidf / iStock

The USPS' "service standards" are defined as the number of days that the agency expects to be able to deliver your mail. If you're someone who anxiously awaits an online order or package, you'll be happy to learn that standards for Retail Ground and Parcel Select Ground products have recently been accelerated.

According to a press release from the USPS, the current standards will be shifted from two-to-eight days to two-to-five days. Sweetening the deal, prices will stay the same, meaning you won't have to spend more on shipping costs.

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Deliveries are set to speed up in August.

usps delivery van
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The request to update the service standards was originally filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) back on March 21. On June 9, the PRC issued an advisory opinion, acknowledging that the change "improves service, and therefore generally benefits mailers and is in the public interest," the press release stated.

The changes will go into effect on Aug. 1, the USPS announced, and service standards will now be aligned with the First-Class Package Service standards in the U.S. This is in an effort to optimize package processing and surface transportation networks, all while improving customer service, the press release stated.

"Upgrading service standards for Retail Ground and Parcel Select Ground products is another way we are improving delivery for our customers," DeJoy said in the press release. "Offering faster, affordable delivery is how we will become the best in the industry."

These shipping options are available for select customers.

receiving package in the mail
Juanmonino / iStock

You'll likely benefit from these changes when receiving your mail, as they apply to USPS customers who are using both retail and commercial services.

According to the USPS press release, Retail Ground shipping is for packages, thick envelopes, and tubes that don't need to be mailed via First-Class Mail service. Retail Ground products are also required to be under 70 pounds and are strictly available through retail channels. Parcel Select Ground shipping is available for commercial shippers, offering a similar "economical ground delivery service."

Items containing any hazardous materials or live animals, however, will not be eligible for these new service standards, the USPS stated.

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