OPM Retirement Backlog Drops By Nearly 4% in April

The OPM retirement backlog finally reversed course in April and declined for the first time so far in 2022.

The OPM retirement backlog finally reversed course in April to break a trend that has plagued it for all of 2022 so far.

The backlog dropped 3.9% to finish the month, going from 36,349 at the end of March to 34,939 at the end of April. The drop was a result of the Office of Personnel Management processing the largest number of claims to date so far in 2022 in one month: 11,393. There were also only 9,983 new claims that came in during the month.

April has been a good month for OPM in terms of working its way through the backlog in recent years. Here is a look at how the pattern has played out since 2018:

Claims ReceivedClaims ProcessedTotal Backlog
April 20188,3909,63117,489
April 20196,9939,39217,802
April 20206,7408,11519,889
April 20219,41411,39625,386
April 20229,98311,39334,939

Despite the progress last month, the OPM retirement backlog is still at the highest levels it has been since 2013.

The average of the backlog in 2022 so far is 34,505 which is 30% higher than the same time period in 2021 (26,545) and 55% higher than the same time period in 2020 (22,191).

The number of federal employees retiring over the same time period is largely to blame. So far in 2022, the average number of new monthly retirement claims is 11,383. In 2021, it was 10,105, and in 2020, it was 9,928.

Another factor is the length of time it takes OPM to process the claims in any given month. So far in 2022, the average monthly processing time has been 86 days; in 2021 for the same time period, it was 76, and in 2020, it was 60 days. The COVID-19 pandemic likely factored into the increase in the amount of processing time.

January – AprilAverage Claims ReceivedAverage Claims ProcessedAverage BacklogAverage Monthly Processing Time in Day

OPM Retirement Processing Status – April 2022

Latest complete retirement processing statistics on the OPM retirement backlog

MonthClaims ReceivedClaims ProcessedInventory (Steady state goal is 13,000)Monthly Average Processing Time in DaysFYTD Average Processing Time in Days

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 43 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 108 days to complete.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.