Retirement Backlog Up, But Case Processing Time Down in August

September 4, 2020 4:52 PM
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Line graph showing the progression of OPM's retirement backlog from October 2018 to August 2020

The Office of Personnel Management processed fewer retirement cases in August than it did the month before, but the ones that were processed were done at a much faster average pace than had been done in July.

OPM only processed 5,836 claims in August which drove the backlog back up over 18,000 (18,570). 6,775 new claims came in during the month which is fewer than in July.

However, the average processing time was markedly better than in July. Processing time was 73 days on average in August whereas it had been 95 in July, an improvement of 23%. That is still higher than at any point in OPM’s latest data snapshot which dates back to October 2018, but the turnaround from July is noteworthy.

The backlog bottomed in June but has seen a slow uphill climb since then and is now higher than were it was in May; it is almost 6% higher than it was last year at this time. May is also where the average processing time figures suddenly took a jump up from where they had been running (61 in March; 68 in April).

The latest complete 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
Apr-206,7408,11519,8896861
May-206,6488,36018,1778364
Jun-206,5557,30017,4328165
Jul-206,8196,62017,6319568
Aug-20 *6,7755,83618,5707368

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 45 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 118 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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