OPM Retirement Backlog Drops Nearly 9% in September

The OPM retirement backlog was reduced by nearly 9% in September 2022, although it still remains at over 25,000 total claims.

The OPM retirement backlog shrank nearly 9% in September 2022 but still is a large overall total number as the end of the calendar year approaches.

The Office of Personnel Management processed 10,681 retirement claims last month and only 8,086 new claims were received. This helped reduce the total backlog by 2,595. The total now stands at 26,642. This is still a very large number, but it was approaching 40,000 back in the spring.

The backlog was reduced in September despite one of the highest average monthly processing times so far this year. It took OPM on average 92 days to process retirement applications, second only to when it was 94 in January.

September 2022 was a busier month for retirement activity compared to the last five years. OPM received and processed more retirement claims this September than in any year since 2018. However, the backlog was higher in 2021 than this year.

Claims ReceivedClaims ProcessedTotal Backlog
September 20228,08610,68126,642
September 20217,5897,34428,810
September 20206,2446,54018,274
September 20197,4567,65617,376
September 20187,1427,02717,628

Although the OPM retirement backlog has been improving, 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.

The busiest time of the year for retiring is normally the end of a calendar year. If OPM can make headway reducing the backlog during the last quarter of the year, that will offset the typical surge of retirement applications that normally come pouring in during January and February.

OPM Retirement Backlog Processing Status – September 2022

Line graph showing the progression of the OPM retirement backlog from October 2020 to September 2022
MonthClaims ReceivedClaims ProcessedInventory (Steady state goal is 13,000)Monthly Average Processing Time in DaysFYTD Average Processing Time in Days
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
Aug-218,9767,41228,5659378
Sep-217,5897,34428,8109479
Oct-218,00610,71126,1059595
Nov-218,2668,01026,3617988
Dec-217,5697,20026,7309289
Jan-2213,2668,68931,3079490
Feb-2212,2418,12435,4248990
Mar-2210,0429,11736,3498289
Apr-229,98311,39334,9398087
May-227,67310,26632,3468887
Jun-226,0327,93530,4439088
Jul-229,48710,70629,2249288
Aug-228,0328,01929,2378788
*Sep-228,08610,68126,6429288

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 38 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 125 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.