Despite More New Claims Than Usual, Retirement Backlog Drops in November

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By on December 6, 2018 in Retirement with 0 Comments

Line graph showing the history of the OPM retirement applications backlog from October 2017 to November 2018

Despite more new retirement claims coming in during November than have been seen in several years, the Office of Personnel Management was able to make a modest improvement in reducing the backlog of outstanding retirement claims last month. The backlog may get ugly after the first of the year, however.

OPM received 7,510 new claims during November. That is by far the most that have been come in during November in the last five years (the next highest in that timeframe was November 2015 when 6,019 were received). However, despite the higher number, OPM still reduced the total backlog by almost 3%, going from 19,729 to 19,162.

The bad news though is that this is still way above OPM’s stated goal of keeping the backlog at 13,000 claims. 19,162 is also the highest the backlog has been since February, a month which is notorious for seeing a huge number of new retirement applications arriving in OPM’s offices. Last February had over 13,000 new claims, pushing the backlog over 24,000.

If OPM cannot make a significant reduction in the backlog to close out the year, it is likely to increase to levels not seen in quite some time come January and February if the usual wave of new retirees’ applications comes pouring in at the first of the year.

OPM’s Inspector General recently addressed this concern with the rising backlog. It noted that while OPM has met some of its goals with respect to the backlog, there is more work to be done to continue to meet the needs of retiring federal employees.

The latest complete figures are included below.

Month Claims Received Claims Processed Inventory (Steady state is 13,000) % 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
Oct-17 8,850 6,818 18,860 59% 44 93
Nov-17 5,572 5,138 19,294 57% 46 97
Dec-17 5,568 10,347 14,515 67% 43 96
Jan-18 14,590 8,638 20,467 56% 35 100
Feb-18 13,290 9,532 24,225 76% 27 109
Mar-18 7,767 13,262 18,730 84% 36 117
Apr-18 8,390 9,631 17,489 55% 36 85
May-18 7,625 7,090 18,024 50% 36 85
Jun-18 9,397 9,223 18,198 60% 44 99
Jul-18 8,281 8,145 18,334 67% 39 94
Aug-18 8,826 9,647 17,513 67% 37 95
Sep-18 7,142 7,027 17,628 59% 45 101
Oct-18 9,012 6,911 19,729 65% 45 95
Nov-18 7,510 8,077 19,162 70% 45 99

 

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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.

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