OPM’s Retirement Backlog Stays Above 16,000 in November

OPM made a small reduction to its backlog of retirement applications, but it remains above 16,000 as of the end of November.

The retirement backlog at OPM saw only a very slight decrease in November. It still remains at over 16,000 even though the agency was able to process more claims than it took in last month.

OPM received 5,065 new applications and processed 5,723 which helped reduce the backlog slightly (a 4% reduction), ultimately leaving a total backlog of 16,019. The backlog at the end of November last year was 12,562, 27.5% lower than it is today.

The latest figures also show a downward trend in the number of applications processed in 60 days or less. The highest percentage came in March of this year when 88% of applications were processed in 60 days or less, but that figure has been going down since that time. This may be due to the fact that OPM says it adds to its customer staff to handle spikes in retirement claims, most notably in January and February.

OPM was recently featured in a report on government waste by Senator James Lankford (R-OK). Lankford criticized the agency for its lack of use of software to automate processing the retirement applications, choosing instead to rely on employees to manually process the applications.

Lankford said that by not following the private sector’s lead and using software to speed up the process, the agency is doing a disservice to federal retirees who are forced to wait longer than they would otherwise have to to start receiving their annuity payments.

OPM has said that it needs additional funding in its budget to hire more people to handle the paperwork of processing the applications backlog.

The latest figures from OPM are listed below.

Month Claims Received Claims Processed Inventory (Steady state is 13,000) % Processed in 60 days or less (FYTD) % Processed in 60 days or less (Monthly)
Oct-15 8,374 10,438 12,642 74% 74%
Nov-15 6,019 6,099 12,562 76% 82%
Dec-15 4,753 5,916 11,399 78% 83%
Jan-16 15,423 7,061 19,761 79% 80%
Feb-16 11,293 8,362 22,692 80% 85%
Mar-16 5,741 9,222 19,211 82% 88%
Apr-16 7,241 11,935 14,517 80% 76%
May-16 7,210 7,692 14,035 80% 75%
Jun-16 5,929 6,435 13,529 79% 75%
Jul-16 9,238 7,205 15,562 79% 74%
Aug-16 6,818 6,046 16,334 78% 72%
Sep-16 6,946 8,134 15,146 77% 64%
Oct-16 7,326 5,795 16,677 58% 58%
Nov-16 5,065 5,723 16,019 60% 61%


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.