OPM Retirement Backlog Drops Below 30k in July

The OPM retirement backlog crossed a significant threshold in July 2022.

The OPM retirement backlog has finally dropped below the 30,000 mark as of the end of July 2022.

Last month, the Office of Personnel Management processed 10,706 retirement claims, a 35% improvement over the number processed in June. As there were only 9,487 new retirement claims received in July, this improved the OPM retirement backlog. In fact, it crossed a milestone threshold, falling below 30,000 for the first time this year. It now stands at 29,224.

The number of claims processed during the month was high considering also that the average monthly processing time was 92 days, the second highest it has been all year so far. It was 94 days in January, which is also typically the most popular month for federal employees to retire.

While the OPM retirement backlog has been going in the right direction for the past few months, it still is at the highest level it has been in almost a decade. The last time it was at these levels was in 2013 (30,080 in April 2013).

Are More Federal Employees Retiring in 2022?

July is normally one of the quieter months for federal employee retirements in terms of the number of retirement claims that come in during the month. However, at least compared to the past five years, July 2022 was an exception. Here is how it compares to the last few years:

Claims ReceivedClaims ProcessedTotal Backlog
July 20229,48710,70629,224
July 20218,9226,92027,001
July 20206,8196,62017,631
July 20198,0008,08818,413
July 20188,2818,14518,334

But how do federal employee retirements in 2022 compare to the past five years? The table below shows the average figures for the same time period (January – July) for the number of retirement claims submitted to OPM.

January – JulyTotal New Claims SubmittedMonthly Average

As can be seen, 2022 has been one of the highest years in terms of the number of federal employees retiring from federal service based on the number of retirement claims coming into OPM.

Although the OPM retirement backlog has been improving in the last few months, federal employees who are retiring in the near future should plan on waiting several months to have their retirement paperwork fully processed and finalized by OPM.

OPM Retirement Backlog Processing Status – July 2022

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 40 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 126 days to complete.

**Updated to correct typo. Originally reported 9,673.

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.