June 2021 saw the smallest number of new retirement claims coming into the Office of Personnel Management during a month so far this year. Despite that, the backlog of outstanding retirement claims still increased slightly over the previous month.
The reason for the increase appears to be twofold: OPM only processed 6,884 claims in June and the average processing time was 78 days. Compare that with May in which OPM processed 8,451 claims and did so in an average of 70 days.
The total backlog now stands at 24,999, the highest it has been in the middle of the year since July 2013 (25,601) and 43% higher than it was a year ago. It has, however, come down from its peak in January when it hit 26,968.
The backlog has slowly crept upward as the number of new claims coming in exceed the number that get processed per month. Some years OPM has kept pace, others it has fallen behind. In the last five years, this is how the pace looks between January and June:
|Claims Received||Claims Processed||Difference|
The difference has been more dramatic in 2021 so far which has driven the backlog higher. One noticeable difference this year over last year is that March and April had higher numbers of new claims coming in; those two months were 43% higher this year over 2020.
The latest retirement processing data are included below.
|Month||Claims Received||Claims Processed||Inventory (Steady state goal is 13,000)||Monthly Average Processing Time in Days||FYTD Average Processing Time in Days|
retirement application through final adjudication.
*Initial retirement cases produced in less than 60 days, on average took 40 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 107 days to complete.