Another Glitch in Processing Federal Retirement Applications?

OPM writes that a funding lapse may lead to more contact from Retirement Services. This is not good news for those who are planning to file or are waiting on a retirement application.

In one of the latest articles on the time for processing retirement applications, the headline read: OPM Gets Some Reprieve from Influx of New Retirement Applications. That sounds good and may have encouraged some who are waiting for their applications to be processed as soon as possible.

A recent release from the Office of Personnel Management may have an impact on this issue. Here is the key sentence that may be of interest to readers:

[Y]ou may experience an increase in contact from the Retirement Services for documents that we may need to complete a retirement case.

In other words, a reasonable interpretation of this is that it may take longer for retirement applications to be processed.

That is not the primary message in the news item that was released. The lead item was that there is a “lapse in funding” for scanning and uploading human resource records to electronic Official Personnel Folders.

Here is the wording of the news item:

“The Benefits Officers Training and Development (BOTD) group at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has recently been informed by the Enterprise Human Resource Integration (EHRI), which is an office under the OPM’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), that due to a lapse in funding they have ceased their contract for government-wide bulk scanning and uploading of human resource (HR) records to employees’ electronic Official Personnel Folders (eOPF) effective August 2015.  Agencies are still performing some small scale scanning operations but participation is at the discretion of individual agencies.

As a consequence, you may experience an increase in contact from the Retirement Services for documents that we may need to complete a retirement case.

EHRI has informed us that they are in the process of contracting for the resumption of this scanning service, and we will notify you when it restarts.”

Stated differently, but perhaps more directly, this news item may add up to: “There will be further delays in processing retirement applications. It isn’t the fault of OPM. There is a funding lapse that will create the problem.”

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47