4% Drop in OPM’s Retirement Backlog in June

July 9, 2020 9:16 AM
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Line graph showing the progression of the retirement claims backlog at the Office of Personnel Management from October 2018 to June 2020

The Office of Personnel Management has continued to make modest improvements in its retirement backlog as we reach the middle of the calendar year.

The retirement backlog went from 18,177 at the end of May to 17,432 at the end of June, a 4.1% decrease. The number of new retirement claims coming in has leveled off as it often does around the middle of the year, but OPM’s processing of claims has remained relatively steady as well which has helped to make the improvements to the backlog.

The total backlog is now also ahead of where it was at this time last year when it stood at 18,501. Its low point for the last year, however, was in December 2019 when it dropped to just under 17,000. It will be interesting to see if OPM can top that in the next month or two when the new reports come out.

The improvements in the backlog have come despite a noticeable increase in the average monthly processing time. In February, the average monthly processing time was just 54 days; it went up to 68 days in April, and now in June has risen to 81 days. The drop-off in the number of new claims appears to be what has helped OPM keep making progress in the overall backlog.

Despite the improvements, OPM is still pretty far off from its stated goal of a backlog of 13,000. That is a number that has not been seen in almost five years (11,399 in December 2015).

The latest complete retirement processing data are included below.

What has been your experience with getting your retirement application processed? Have you encountered delays, or has it been a smooth process? Share your experience in the comments 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-206,6488,36018,1778364
Jun-20*6,5557,30017,4328165

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 142 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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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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