Ever since news of the data breach that hit the Office of Personnel Management made headlines, there has been confusion as to whether or not retired federal workers were impacted by the breach. I too am among those confused on this as there have been conflicting reports.
First, it was reported that about 4 million current and former federal employees were potentially impacted, then AFGE said in a statement that “…2.1 million current federal employees and an additional 2 million federal retirees and former federal employees may have been compromised…”
And now the National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) has released yet more information that I believe helps to answer this question. NARFE president Richard G. Thissen said in a statement:
I want to stress that we were told by OPM that retiree records, including those of spouses and survivors, were not compromised in this breach. The data accessed by the hackers was employment data. However, some of the individuals affected may no longer be employed by the federal government, whether they retired or left federal service. Approximately one million federal retirees are affected by this incident, and they will be receiving notification letters by email or postal service over the next two weeks. (emphasis added)
Those are important clarifying points in his statement. Federal retirees are included in the potentially compromised data, but it does not include retiree records, such as their annuity payment information.
OPM began notifying impacted employees on June 8, and notifications will continue to go out until June 19 with details to assist those whose data was compromised.
AFGE said that the personnel data included things such as Social Security numbers, military records, veterans status, pay, position, educational records, name, address, date of birth, marital status, information on dependents, health insurance, and/or life insurance.
Information about the extent of the breach is still forthcoming. Just today, ABC News reported that top administration officials, up to and including current and former cabinet secretaries, were among those potentially impacted in the exposed data. Employees of the Secret Service, US Marshals Service and DEA are included the potential list as well.
At this time, those believed to have been spared include the president and vice president, Department of Defense employees and members of the military, and employees at intelligence agencies such as CIA or NSA.
Information is still continuing to be released about the extent of the breach and who may or may not be impacted, and we will continue to keep you updated as more news is released.