The OPM retirement backlog dropped by nearly 5.5% last month, going from 24,858 at the end of January to 23,500 at the end of February 2023.
The Office of Personnel Management also dramatically improved processing times in February, taking only 65 days on average to process retirement claims. In January, the figure was 93 days, so this is an improvement of 30%.
OPM received 9,562 new retirement claims last month, 23% fewer than in January (12,404). It processed 10,920 claims in February, thereby allowing OPM to cut the backlog down to 23,500, a reduction of 1,358 claims over January.
Despite last month’s progress on the OPM retirement backlog, it still remains at a higher level than it has been in past years and is well above OPM’s stated goal of 13,000. In 2020 for instance, the backlog got down to 17,432 in June, and in June 2017 it was 14,530.
February is normally the second busiest month of the year for incoming retirement claims at the Office of Personnel Management, second only to January. However, February 2023 turned out to be less busy than in some past years in terms of incoming retirement claims. The table below shows how February 2023 compares to past years.
|Claims Received||Claims Processed||Total Backlog|
Which Agencies Have the Most Errors on Retirement Applications?
Errors on retirement applications are the most common culprit of delaying processing of federal employees’ retirement applications. According to OPM, these are the agencies that have the highest percentages of errors on non-disability retirement application packages:
|Agencies||% of Cases With Errors|
|Department of Health and Human Services||42|
|Department of Justice||32|
|Department of Defense||31|
|Department of Homeland Security||31|
|Department of State||29|
These agencies have the fewest errors:
|Agency||% of Cases With Errors|
|Social Security Administration||14|
|General Services Administration||7|
|United States Postal Service||7|
|Joint Payroll Office||6|
|National Aeronautics and Space Administration||6|
The governmentwide error rate is 21%. All of the above figures are as of the end of February 2023.
How Can Federal Employees Avoid Processing Delays on Their Retirement Applications?
According to OPM, the best way for federal employees to avoid processing delays with their retirement applications is to ensure that they submit a “healthy” retirement application package. This means that the application is complete and free from errors. It is also best to begin the application process as early as possible.
OPM states, “You can help reduce delays in processing by submitting your application in advance and by making sure your Official Personnel Folder (OPF) is complete. If you submit your paperwork early, your personnel and payroll offices will be able to complete their action before your retirement date.”
OPM Retirement Backlog Processing Status – February 2023
|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 27 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 135 days to complete.