Despite More New Claims Than Usual, Retirement Backlog Improves

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By on April 5, 2019 in Retirement with 0 Comments

Line graph showing progression of OPM's retirement backlog between October 2017 and March 2019

The Office of Personnel Management was able to make a nice dent in the backlog of outstanding retirement claims despite a higher than usual batch of new ones coming in during the month of March.

OPM processed 13,217 claims in March against 10,048 new claims, bringing the total backlog down to 20,201, 13.6% lower than it was at the end of February. The backlog is still quite high though thanks to the typical surge of applications that come in during the months of January and February with federal employees retiring at the year’s end.

The 10,048 new claims that came in this March is much higher than in the last few years:

  • March 2018: 7,767
  • March 2017: 7,216
  • March 2016: 5,741

But OPM’s progress came thanks to processing higher than usual numbers in the last two months. Despite that, the agency has a ways to go to get back down to the 13,000 mark, its “steady state” and stated goal for the backlog. 2016 was the last time the backlog was at or below the 13,000 mark, and it is almost 8% higher than it was in March 2018.

The latest complete figures are included below.

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
Nov-18 7,510 8,077 19,162 61 62
Dec-18 5,782 6,925 18,019 60 61
Jan-19 13,264 8,162 23,121 58 60
Feb-19 10,792 10,543 23,370 58 57
Mar-19 10,048 13,217 20,201 50 55

 

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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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