The backlog of outstanding retirement claims at the Office of Personnel Management stayed relatively flat in September.
7,456 new claims were received during the month, and OPM processed 7,656 which brought the total backlog down to 17,376. It stood at 17,576 at the end of August, so this was a 1.1% decrease.
By way of comparison, the backlog was at 17,628 at the end of September 2018, nearly identical to this year. In September 2017, the backlog was 16,828, also not far off from the trend.
The typical trend we see is that the fall is a pretty quiet time for new retirement applications coming into OPM, but also in terms of the number that get processed, so the backlog doesn’t change all that much or maybe goes down modestly. It then spikes dramatically in January and February when the end of year retirement applications start pouring in. This past January, for example, the retirement backlog jumped up to just over 23,000.
OPM has previously defined the “steady state” of the backlog to be 13,000. According to its strategic plan for processing retirement applications, “By having no more than 13,000 claims on hand, the staff will be able to adjudicate 90 percent of all the claims covered by this plan within 60 days.”
However, the agency hasn’t hit its stated target by being at or below the 13,000 mark since December 2015 at which time the backlog stood at 11,399.
The latest complete statistics from OPM 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|