OPM Retirement Backlog Shows How Many Federal Employees Retired in 2022

The OPM retirement backlog was reduced by nearly 10% in December 2022. It also shows how many federal employees retired during the year.

The December statistics for the OPM retirement backlog show how many federal employees retired in 2022 and also show that OPM was able to reduce the backlog by a significant amount heading into January, which is typically the busiest month of the year for new retirement claims.

The Office of Personnel Management received 5,490 new retirement claims in December and processed 7,743 claims which ultimately allowed the backlog to be reduced to 21,596. That is a 9.45% reduction over the figure at the end of November when it was 23,849.

The error rate for incoming retirement claims also shrank in December which probably helped OPM with the claims processing during the month. According to OPM, the number of retirement applications with errors government-wide fell by six percentage points, going from 30% at the end of November to 24% at the end of December.

How Many Federal Employees Retired in 2022?

A total of 102,819 federal employees retired in calendar year 2022 according to the total number of retirement claims that came into OPM last year. This is just above the average for the last five years.

How does this figure compare to other years? Here is a breakdown:

YearTotal
2022102,819
2021104,699
202092,088
2019101,580
2018107,612
Average101,760

The OPM Retirement Backlog Shrank in 2022

OPM was able to reduce the backlog last year which is evident in the 2022 data. This will come as good news for recent or prospective federal retirees since the OPM retirement backlog has grown in the last couple of years and hit its recent peak in early 2022 when it topped out at 36,349 at the end of March 2022.

The table below shows the amount by which the OPM retirement backlog shrank (negative number) or grew (positive number) in each of the last five years.

YearTotal New ClaimsRetirement Claims ProcessedDifferenceBacklog at Year End
2022102,819107,953(5,134)21,596
2021104,69997,6567,04326,730
202092,08889,3092,77919,687
2019101,580102,691(1,111)16,908
2018107,612104,1083,50418,019

Odds are that the backlog will jump higher at the end of January since it often does. This is because January is the most popular month for new federal retirees to submit their retirement applications to OPM. Last year, for instance, OPM received over 13,000 new retirement claims in January which pushed the backlog up 17% over where it was at the end of December 2021.

Line graph showing the progression of the OPM retirement backlog in 2022
OPM Retirement Backlog in 2022

OPM Retirement Backlog Processing Status – December 2022

MonthClaims ReceivedClaims ProcessedInventory (Steady state goal is 13,000)MonthlyAverage Processing Time in DaysFYTD Average Processing Time in Days
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
Oct-226,4237,83825,2278989
Nov-226,0647,44223,8499291
*Dec-225,4907,74321,5968589

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 37 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 127 days to complete.

How Long Does It Take OPM to Process Retirement Claims?

The Office of Personnel Management States on its website that it aims to process federal employees’ retirement applications within 60 days. It often takes longer, however.

What Can Federal Employees Do to Speed Up the Retirement Application Process?

According to OPM, the best ways for federal employees to speed up their retirement application processing is by submitting their retirement application packages earlier and making sure everything is completed correctly.

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.