OPM’s Retirement Backlog Hits New Low for the Year

Despite a slower average processing time, OPM was able to bring the retirement backlog down to its lowest level of the year at the end of May.

The retirement claims backlog at the Office of Personnel Management has hit its lowest point of the year so far according to the latest figures published today.

OPM reduced the backlog of retirement claims by nearly 9% in May, going from a total of 19,889 at the end of April to 18,177 to close out the month. The last time the backlog was at at or below that level was at the end of 2019.

OPM has reached this new milestone by processing 8,360 claims in May, 1,712 more than it received during the month. The middle of the year is typically a slower time for new retirement applications to come in, certainly in comparison to the start of a calendar year.

Interestingly enough, the monthly average processing time for cases in May shot way up in comparison to April, but OPM was still able to drop the backlog despite the slower times. OPM noted the following in the footnotes of its latest report: “Initial retirement cases produced in less than 60 days, on average took 42 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 125 days to complete.”

Despite the progress, the backlog is higher than it has been in May for the last several years. It will be interesting to see if the agency can continue the same pace of improvements as the year goes on.

The latest 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
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
May-20 *6,6488,36018,1778364

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 42 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 125 days to complete.

About the Author

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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