OPM’s Retirement Claims Backlog Jumps 73% in January

By on February 5, 2016 in Agency News, Retirement with 44 Comments

Image of employee covering face with hands next to a stack of backlogged paperwork

The backlog of retirement claims at the Office of Personnel Management jumped significantly in January thanks to over 15,000 new applications being submitted.

January is normally a very popular time for federal employees to retire, and this year was no exception. OPM received 15,423 new claims and processed 7,061 which caused the backlog of outstanding claims to go from 11,399 to 19,761, a 73% increase.

The number of claims OPM processed was higher than in December, however, it is far short of some other months in which it was able to process over 10,000 claims.

While this is a significant increase in the backlog, it is not as bad as January 2015 in which OPM saw 18,629 new claims come in which caused a 94% increase in the size of the backlog.

OPM had gotten the backlog down to 11,399 at the end of 2015 only to see it nearly double to start off 2016. This is nearly identical to what happened at the end of 2014 in which the backlog stood at 11,669 and then almost doubled to start off 2015. This seems to be a typical pattern and unfortunately results in a nearly permanent backlog of applications remaining in place at the agency. For some history, see About That OPM Retirement Processing Backlog… and Back to the Future: OPM and the Federal Employee Retirement Tsunami.

In its latest report, OPM omitted the data on projections regarding the backlog, such as how many claims it anticipated having at the end of each month and how many it estimated it would be able to process in any given month. Instead, the table now shows the number processed in 60 days or less and the average number of days it took to process a case around the 60 day benchmark. Perhaps this looks better in light of January’s setback…

The latest data are included below.

Month Claims Received Claims Processed Inventory Avg. # of Days to Process Case in 60 days or less Avg. # of Days to Process Case in more than 60 days
Oct-14 10,155 8,785 14,137 36 104
Nov-14 5,746 5,844 14,039 37 107
Dec-14 4,077 6,447 11,669 45 99
Jan-15 18,629 7,662 22,636 43 91
Feb-15 9,219 7,841 24,014 33 103
Mar-15 5,478 8,898 20,594 46 99
Apr-15 6,292 8,660 18,226 49 74
May-15 7,845 10,697 15,374 47 79
Jun-15 6,920 7,783 14,511 44 99
Jul-15 9,862 7,918 16,455 45 97
Aug-15 7,341 7,446 16,350 45 98
Sep-15 6,300 7,944 14,706 43 94
Oct-15 8,374 10,438 12,642 38 86
Nov-15 6,019 6,099 12,562 37 98
Dec-15 4,753 5,916 11,399 40 104
Jan-16 15,423 7,061 19,761 38 94

© 2016 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce. Ian also has a background in web development and does the technical work for the FedSmith.com web site and its sibling sites.

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