The OPM retirement backlog continued its downward trend again in June. It now stands at just over 30,000 total outstanding claims, the lowest it has been so far in 2022.
The Office of Personnel Management processed 7,935 retirement claims in June while only 6,032 new claims were received. This allowed the total backlog to go from 32,346 at the end of May to 30,443 at the end of June.
The average processing time did go up in June relative to recent past months which appears to have slowed the progress that was being made on the OPM retirement backlog. On average, it took OPM 90 days to process federal employees’ retirement claims in June which is the second highest monthly average so far in 2022.
The number of claims processed in June was also the lowest number in a month so far this year. In April and May, for instance, OPM processed over 10,000 total claims in a month, processing a total of 11,393 in April and 10,266 in May. April also had the lowest monthly average processing time so far this year (80 days), and May was among the lowest at 88 days.
Although the OPM retirement backlog is now the lowest it has been all year, it still is at a level not seen since 2013. That is likely due, at least in part, to more federal employees retiring this year than in the last several years.
The table below shows the total numbers of retirement applications that federal employees submitted to OPM for processing through the first half of the year for the past several years:
|January – June||Total New Claims Submitted||Monthly Average|
Federal employees who may be seriously weighing retirement this year in order to take advantage of a large cost of living adjustment (COLA) next year may be disappointed and need to be fully aware of how the annual COLA adjustment is calculated, particularly with respect to new federal retirees. For a full explanation, see Predicting the 2023 COLA and How to Avoid the Surprise of a Lower Annuity Payment.
OPM Retirement Processing Status – June 2022
|Month||Claims Received||Claims Processed||Inventory (Steady state goal is 13,000)||Monthly Average Processing Time in Days||FYTD 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 42 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 111 days to complete.