The number of backlogged retirement claims remained mostly flat in May according to the latest data from the Office of Personnel Management.
OPM received almost the exact same number of new claims in May as it did in April (7,210 in May; 7,241 in April). However, OPM processed far fewer claims last month than it did in April which kept the outstanding backlog at approximately the same level. OPM processed 7,692 in May versus 11,935 in April, a 55% difference.
As a result, the total backlog was mostly unchanged over April. At the end of April, it stood at 14,517 and at the end of May it was only down to 14,035, a 3.3% reduction.
The Washington Post reported last week that OPM is trying (again) to automate its retirement system after five previous (and very costly) attempts to do so. The Washington Post reported that OPM is in the process of hiring a contractor to create a new electronic case management system for its retirement records of current and former federal employees.
The odds are not in OPM’s favor on making this happen given past experiences. OPM pulled the plug on one of its previous attempts at hiring a contractor to build a computer program to handle retirement claims after millions of dollars were wasted and then announced it was just going to hire more people to solve the problem.
Acting director Beth Cobert is also on record as saying that the agency needs more money to hire more people to solve its retirement backlog problem.
In light of the position of the head of the agency as well as OPM’s track record of success in working with contractors to fix its retirement system, one has to remain skeptical if it will work this go around. But maybe six times is the charm.
The latest complete retirement processing statistics are included below.
|Month||Claims Received||Claims Processed||Inventory (Steady state is 13,000)||% Processed in 60 days or less (YTD)||% Processed in 60 days or less (Monthly)||Avg. # of Days to Process Case in 60 days or less||Avg. # of Days to Process Case in more than 60 days|