OPM’s Retirement Backlog Improves by 6.5% Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

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By on May 5, 2020 in Retirement with 0 Comments
Line graph showing the trends in OPM's retirement claims backlog from October 2018 to April 2020

Despite a widespread shutdown of the American economy thanks to the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Office of Personnel Management’s retirement services operations clearly are up and running as normal. Proof of this lies in the new retirement processing statistics published by OPM today.

For the month of April, OPM received 6,740 new claims but processed 8,115. That helped to get the backlog down under 20,000 for the first time since its usual spike at the start of the year. The new backlog now stands at 19,889, a 6.5% drop over March.

While that’s a nice improvement, the backlog is still quite a bit higher than it was at this time last year. At the end of April 2019, the backlog was 17,802, almost 12% lower.

For the sake of comparison, the backlog at the end of April 2018 was 17,489 and 18,932 at the end of April 2017.

While the number of claims processed was fairly close to what was done in March, it happened at a slower pace. In March, the average processing time was 61 days; in April it jumped up to 68.

Again, considering the disruption left in the wake of the coronavirus, one has to think these numbers are a nice accomplishment for OPM given that employees are likely working remotely, worried about getting sick, etc.

The latest complete statistics 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
Apr-206,7408,11519,8896861

Average Processing Time in Days represents the number of days starting when OPM receives the retirement application through final adjudication.

*Initial retirement cases produced in less than 60 days, on average took 41 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 109 days to complete.

© 2020 Ian Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ian Smith.

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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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