OPM Cuts Retirement Backlog by 10% in March

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By on April 6, 2020 in Retirement with 0 Comments
Line graph showing the trend in OPM's retirement backlog from October 2018 to March 2020

The Office of Personnel Management reduced the outstanding backlog of retirement claims by 10% last month.

Thanks to a combination of fewer incoming new claims and a robust amount of claims processed during the month, OPM cut the backlog by 2,365. The backlog is the lowest it has been so far this year, although it is higher than it was at the same time last year by 1,063.

OPM was able to make this improvement despite a slower pace of processing the claims. In March, it took an average of 61 days to process the claims whereas in February it was only 54 days. OPM has averaged 58 days for its monthly processing time so far in 2020.

January saw its usual surge in new retirement claims which brought the backlog up from its lowest point in at least the last two years. Recovering from the year end surge is always a struggle for OPM, although things could be much worse: OPM saw its backlog top 60k back in the 2012 timeframe. Today’s current backlog of 21,264 is a far cry from that.

Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, OPM has reassured federal retirees that its retirement services will continue to operate as normal. Claims will get processed and annuity payments will continue to be sent each month.

In light of this unusual situation, it seems that OPM has made good on this promise, at least in terms of maintaining a steady rate of processing retirement claims.

The latest data from OPM 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
Nov-197,8227,31418,3906261
Dec-195,2056,68716,9086662
Jan-2017,13410,05923,9835861
Feb-209,2739,62723,6295459
Mar-206,5668,93121,2646160

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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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