OPM Retirement Backlog Spikes 9% in June

The OPM retirement grew in June, backtracking on its progress from the previous months.

The OPM retirement backlog sharply reversed course in June, growing by 9.3% over May to break its trend of four straight months of declines.

The Office of Personnel Management received 6,919 new retirement claims from federal employees last month and processed 5,614 which caused the outstanding inventory to grow to 15,340. It took an average of 64 days for OPM to process retirement claims.

In May, the OPM retirement backlog fell to an 8 year low (14,035). Despite the unfortunate shift in June, the inventory is still very low relative to recent years.

The table below shows the trends in the OPM retirement backlog during the month of June since 2020. June 2024 is the lowest level during that time.

Claims ReceivedClaims ProcessedInventory
June 20206,5557,30017,432
June 20217,2646,88424,999
June 20226,0327,93523,096
June 20234,8546,60916,370
June 20246,9195,61415,340

The backlog has also done well in 2024 overall compared to previous years. So far this year, the average of the OPM retirement backlog has been 17,115. That is the lowest average through June by far since 2020.

The table below shows the retirement claims averages from January – June since 2020.

Claims ReceivedClaims ProcessedInventory

As of June 2024, OPM estimates in its Retirement Quick Guide that federal retirees will get their first full annuity payments within 3-5 months of retiring. 

The OPM Retirement Quick Guide is a three-page guide that walks federal employees through what to expect during the retirement process, including helping federal employees estimate when they can expect to receive their interim and first full annuity payments. OPM released it last year and updates it monthly with current estimates based on the current retirement processing status.

OPM Retirement Backlog Processing Status – June 2024

MonthClaims ReceivedClaims ProcessedInventory (Steady state goal is 13,000)Monthly Average Processing Time in DaysFYTD Average Processing Time in Days
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
March 20247,94310,71116,8235561
April 20246,9017,64716,0776161
May 20246,7518,79314,0356061
June 20246,9195,61415,3406461

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 122 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.