OPM’s Retirement Backlog Reverses Course in October

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By on November 5, 2019 in Retirement with 0 Comments
Line graph showing the progression of OPM's retirement backlog from October 2018 to October 2019

After making improvements in August and September, the retirement backlog at the Office of Personnel Management reversed its course in October.

September’s report showed the backlog staying relatively flat where it saw a 1.1% decrease from August. But in October, it made up for that and then some, pushing up to 17,882, an increase of almost 3% over last month.

The good news, however, is that the backlog is still lower than it was over the summer, thanks to the nice improvement in August, and it’s also 9% lower than it was this time last year in October.

October is historically one of the busier fall months for new claims, so the fact that OPM had only 7,044 new claims last month is probably good news overall. That was even fewer new claims than came in during September, yet the backlog still grew whereas September saw a decrease. That was thanks to processing over 1,100 fewer claims in October versus September. Go figure.

OPM added a couple of footnotes about the data this month where it offered some extra details about case processing times. OPM noted, “Pending retirement cases produced in less than 60 days, on average took 36 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 123 days to complete.”

The latest complete data are included below.

MonthClaims ReceivedClaims ProcessedInventory (Steady state goal is 13,000)Monthly Average Processing Time in DaysFYTD Average Processing Time in Days
Oct-189,0126,91119,7296363
Nov-187,5108,07719,1626162
Dec-185,7826,92518,0196061
Jan-1913,2648,16223,1215860
Feb-1910,79210,54323,3704657
Mar-1910,04813,21720,2015055
Apr-196,9939,39217,8025655
May-197,8778,45117,2286256
Jun-198,2016,92818,5016056
Jul-198,0008,08818,4135556
Aug-198,8789,71517,5765056
Sep-197,4567,65617,3765756
Oct-197,0446,53817,8825959

*Disability determinations are only included in the pending number after approval.

**Pending retirement cases produced in less than 60 days, on average took 36 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 123 days to complete.

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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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