New Retirement Claims at OPM Surge 33% Over Previous Month

November 5, 2020 4:57 PM
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Line graph showing the progression of OPM's retirement backlog from October 2019 to October 2020

The backlog of retirement claims at the Office of Personnel Management inched closer to the 20k mark last month thanks to a larger number of new retirement applications submitted by federal employees.

The number of new retirement claims that came in during October rose by 33% over September’s figure, going from 6,244 to 8,323. That pushed the total backlog up to 19,605, a 7% increase over September. The backlog is also almost 10% higher than it was last year at this time.

The average number of new claims is actually down slightly for the same time period last year. So far in 2020, the average number received by OPM each month has been 8,108; for the same time period in 2019, it was 8,855.

OPM processed almost 7,000 claims last month and did so in an average of 77 days. As the report notes, the average processing time in days figure “represents the number of days starting when OPM receives the retirement application through final adjudication.” That number peaked in July this year at 95, likely due to the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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-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-206,7755,83618,5707368
Sep-206,2446,54018,2747369
*Oct-208,3236,99219,6057777

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 47 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 112 days to complete.

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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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