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Federal Employees Retiring in February Down 20% from a Year Ago

Although the total retirement backlog is still high, the number of federal employees who retired last month was sharply lower than in recent years.

February was a calmer than usual month for incoming retirement applications at the Office of Personnel Management according to the agency’s latest retirement status report.

In fact, February 2021 had the fewest new retirement applications in the last 6 years. OPM received 7,495 new retirement claims last month, 20% fewer than February 2020. There have been times when February topped five figures in terms of new retirement claims so this is a much lower number than in recent years.

OPM also processed 8,003 retirement claims in February which helped the backlog to come down just a bit from its typical surge in January. However, the total backlog is still quite large, now standing at 26,460.

If that number sounds high, it is – it is the largest total backlog figure since at least February 2015; however, the backlog has been over 20,000 at the end of each February since 2015.

OPM’s stated goal for the backlog is 13,000, a figure not seen since December 2015 when it closed out that year at 11,399 total retirement claims in the backlog.

The latest complete retirement processing 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-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
Nov-205,8765,45920,0227476
Dec-205,1355,47019,6877475
Jan-2113,8506,56926,9688578
*Feb-217,4958,00326,4607778
Disability determinations are included in the pending number after approval. 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 102 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.