OPM’s Retirement Backlog Spikes 12% in October

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By on November 8, 2018 in Retirement with 0 Comments
Line graph showing the history of the OPM retirement applications backlog from October 2017 to October 2018

The backlog of outstanding retirement claims at OPM grew by 2,101 in October, bringing the total to over 19,000

The backlog of retirement claims at the Office of Personnel Management increased by 12% in October to bring the total up over 19,000.

The total outstanding backlog now stands at 19,729 thanks to 9,012 new claims that came in during the month. OPM processed 6,911 applications with an average processing time of 63 days. OPM’s stated goal is to keep the total backlog to 13,000.

The numbers are similar to last October’s when 8,850 claims were received and OPM processed 6,818. The backlog at that time stood at 18,860, 4.6% lower than this year. In October 2016, the backlog was 16,677 and OPM received 7,326 new claims that month.

The typical trend is that the backlog will taper off somewhat in the fall before a huge jump in January and February with the usual wave of first of the year retirements. The start of 2019 is likely to see the usual surge and push the backlog even higher, likely over 20,000 unless OPM can make a serious dent in it in the last two months of the calendar year.

OPM changed the format of the report somewhat in October compared to its past reports. The latest data are included below and only go back to October 2017. The September report had data going back to October 2016. For anyone interested in looking back at some of the past data, we have an extensive listing of articles going back several years on the OPM backlog reports here on FedSmith.com.

Month Claims Received Claims Processed Inventory (Steady state goal is 13,000) Monthly Average Processing Time in Days FYTD Average Processing Time in Days
Oct-17 8,850 6,818 18,860 64 64
Nov-17 5,572 5,138 19,294 68 66
Dec-17 5,568 10,347 14,515 60 63
Jan-18 14,590 8,638 20,467 63 63
Feb-18 13,290 9,532 24,225 46 59
Mar-18 7,767 13,262 18,730 49 57
Apr-18 8,390 9,631 17,489 58 57
May-18 7,625 7,090 18,024 58 58
Jun-18 9,397 9,223 18,198 65 59
Jul-18 8,281 8,145 18,334 57 59
Aug-18 8,826 9,647 17,513 56 58
Sep-18 7,142 7,027 17,628 64 59
Oct-18 9,012 6,911 19,729 63 63


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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.