OPM Retirement Backlog Cut 6% in February

More retirement claims were processed in February which helped reduce the OPM retirement backlog.

The number of federal employees’ retirement claims processed last month rose sharply which helped to reduce the OPM retirement backlog from last month’s spike.

The Office of Personnel Management processed 10,025 retirement claims in February, 55% higher than in January. This helped to reduce the backlog by 6%, going from 20,822 at the end of January to 19,591 at the end of February.

The processing time in February was also cut dramatically which undoubtedly helped increase the number of retirement claims that were processed. It took OPM 47 days on average to process claims in February, 29% better than the time in January (66 days).

OPM enlists help from other federal agencies to help handle processing the surge of retirement applications submitted during the peak season “surge period” which runs from January to March. OPM Director Kiran Ahuja sent a memo in November asking agencies for help with, among other things, screening applications for errors, providing estimates on the number of retirement applications they expected to submit, and for HR staff to consider helping with processing at the retirement operations center in Boyers, PA.

As high as the OPM retirement backlog still is, it’s better than it was last year at this time when it was 23,500. The table below shows how the backlog has fared in the month of February since 2018.

Claims ReceivedClaims ProcessedInventory
February 201813,2909,53224,225
February 201910,79210,54323,370
February 20209,2739,62723,629
February 20217,4958,00326,460
February 202212,2418,12430,577
February 20239,56210,92023,500
February 20248,79410,02519,591

OPM Retirement Backlog Processing Status – February 2024

MonthClaims ReceivedClaims ProcessedInventory (Steady state goal is 13,000)Monthly Average Processing Time in DaysFYTD Average Processing Time in Days
January 202312,4049,14224,8589390
February 20239,56210,92023,5006584
March 20238,3548,92922,9256981
April 20238,29810,83920,3847079
May 20236,0968,35518,1257178
June 20234,8546,60916,3707478
July 20237,2616,58417,0478578
August 20237,3836,46717,9637478
September 20236,7688,87915,8527077
October 20236,9246,09816,6787373
November 20235,2076,05915,8266669
December 20235,6627,19614,2926869
January 202412,9976,46720,8226668
February 20248,79410,02519,5914762

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 29 days to
complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 135
days to complete.

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.