Retirement Backlog Hits Lowest Point for the Year to End 2019

OPM closed out 2019 by achieving a milestone for the year with its retirement backlog.

The outstanding backlog of retirement applications at the Office of Personnel Management dropped by 8% last month thanks to a smaller than usual number of new claims received during December.

OPM said that it received 5,205 retirement claims in December and processed 6,687 which brought the backlog down to 16,908, the lowest it has been for the entire calendar year in 2019. It’s also lower than it was a year ago when it stood at 18,019.

By way of comparison, the backlog at the end of 2017 was 14,515, 15,097 at the end of 2016, and 11,399 at the end of 2015.

OPM took 66 days on average to process the claims during December.

Last month’s progress on lowering the backlog is a good thing since January is a notoriously rough month for OPM’s retirement services office when it usually receives a flood of new retirement applications with many federal employees retiring at the end of a calendar year. It will be interesting to see how this January compares to others; stay tuned until next month!

MonthClaims ReceivedClaims ProcessedInventory (Steady state goal is 13,000)Monthly Average Processing Time in DaysFYTD Average Processing Time in Days

*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 130 days to complete.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.