Cost of future post office retirees' health benefits driving possible default

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The vacant store front inside the Southern Boulevard shopping plaza in West Palm Beach is a sign of the times for the United States Postal Service.  

The Southboro Post Office, like many others throughout the country, shut down last month.

Adding insult to injury and in the midst of serious, continuing cutbacks, the USPS is about to default on a $5.5 billion payment on August 1, intended for a prefunding retirement benefit plan for its employees. 

The Postal Service plans on defaulting on its September 30 payment as well, worth $5.6 billion.

The USPS says customers and employees won't feel any effects, but it does acknowledge if the situation continues with no congressional action, it will eventually be unable to operate the way Americans are accustomed to.

Congress created a law in 2006, requiring the Postal Service to contribute billions every year to the retirement plan.  Nearly $18 billion later, money is running out. 

NewsChannel 5 contacted the offices of Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Marco Rubio and Congressman Allen West and is waiting to hear back.

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