OPM Retirement Backlog Jumps 73% in January

The OPM retirement backlog jumped 73% to start 2016 thanks to an influx of new retirement claims.

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.

MonthClaims ReceivedClaims ProcessedInventoryAvg. # of Days to Process Case in 60 days or lessAvg. # of Days to Process Case in more than 60 days

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.