Retirement Backlog Tops 27k in July

The retirement backlog at OPM climbed again in July and did so rather sharply over the previous month.

The backlog of retirement claims at the Office of Personnel Management took a rather sharp climb in July to wind up at its second highest level for the year. It’s high for the year so far was in March when it peaked at 27,368.

July closed with a backlog of 27,001 total retirement claims, an 8% increase over June. The increase appears to be due to a couple of factors: nearly 9,000 new claims came in during July and OPM only processed 6,920. It also did so at a slower rate than in previous months with the monthly average processing time taking 91 days in July.

From a recent historical perspective, July tends to be a fairly popular time for federal employees to retire. Data from the last few years show that it has been one of the busier months for OPM in terms of new incoming claims. Here are the figures going back to 2014:

July 20218,922
July 20206,819
July 20198,000
July 20188,281
July 201710,070
July 20169,238
July 20159,862
July 20149,101
Average8,787

As can be seen, this July’s number of new retirement claims is actually one of the lower figures for the past few years.

The latest complete data 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
Mar-219,6648,75627,3686976
Apr-219,41411,39625,3867175
May-217,6848,45124,6197074
Jun-217,2646,88424,9997875
*Jul-218,9226,92027,0019176
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 44 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 107 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.