The OPM Retirement Backlog decreased by over 9% in September

Even though the OPM retirement backlog decreased by about 9% in September 2022, it is still a sizable figure as the year’s end draws near.

Only 8,086 new claims were received last month, while the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) processed 10,681 retirement claims. This assisted in cutting the backlog overall by 2,595. The current total is 26,642. This is still a considerable number, but it’s a positive change considering that it was close to 40,000 in the spring.

The backlog had reduced in September despite having one of the longest average monthly processing times this year. OPM processed retirement applications in an average of 92 days, second only to when it was 94 days in January.

September 2022 was a lot busier month compared to the previous five years. OPM received and processed more retirement claims than any other month since 2018.

However, the backlog was higher in 2021 than this year, according to the chart below.

Claims Received

Claims Processed

Total Backlog

September 2022

8,086

10,681

26,642

September 2021

7,589

7,344

28,810

September 2020

6,244

6,540

18,274

September 2019

7,456

7,656

17,376

September 2018

7,142

7,027

17,628

Although the OPM retirement backlog has been decreasing, federal employees planning to retire soon can expect to wait several months for OPM to complete processing and finalizing their retirement papers.

The end of a calendar year is typically the busiest period for retirees. The usual influx of retirement applications that usually flood between January and February will be countered if OPM can progress in lowering the backlog during the last quarter of the year.

OPM Retirement Backlog as of September 2022

Month

Claims Received

Claims Processed

Inventory (Steady state goal is 13,000)

Monthly Average Processing Time in Days

FYTD Average Processing Time in Days

Oct-20

8,323

6,992

19,605

77

77

Nov-20

5,876

5,459

20,022

74

76

Dec-20

5,135

5,470

19,687

74

75

Jan-21

13,850

6,569

26,968

85

78

Feb-21

7,495

8,003

26,460

77

78

Mar-21

9,664

8,756

27,368

69

76

Apr-21

9,414

11,396

25,386

71

75

May-21

7,684

8,451

24,619

70

74

Jun-21

7,264

6,884

24,999

78

75

Jul-21

8,922

6,920

27,001

91

76

Aug-21

8,976

7,412

28,565

93

78

Sep-21

7,589

7,344

28,810

94

79

Oct-21

8,006

10,711

26,105

95

95

Nov-21

8,266

8,010

26,361

79

88

Dec-21

7,569

7,200

26,730

92

89

Jan-22

13,266

8,689

31,307

94

90

Feb-22

12,241

8,124

35,424

89

90

Mar-22

10,042

9,117

36,349

82

89

Apr-22

9,983

11,393

34,939

80

87

May-22

7,673

10,266

32,346

88

87

Jun-22

6,032

7,935

30,443

90

88

Jul-22

9,487

10,706

29,224

92

88

Aug-22

8,032

8,019

29,237

87

88

*Sep-22

8,086

10,681

26,642

92

88

After approval, disability determinations are counted among the pending requests. The average processing time in days is from when OPM receives the retirement application until the decision is made.

On average, initial retirement cases produced in less than 60 days took 38 days to complete, whereas those produced in more than 60 days took 125 days.

Incomplete applications adding to backlogs

Incomplete applications that call for backtracking also cause delays. OPM lacks the data required to complete processing in up to 40% of applications.

OPM has taken measures to resolve understaffing issues, including employing overtime pay and hiring more staff. An investigation by GAO discovered that OPM did not track productivity in overtime or link overtime data to application processing statistics.

Even though it was an OPM standard practice to use increased overtime compensation during peak retirement periods, the number of applications processed did not increase over the fiscal years 2013 to 2017.

According to OPM officials, hiring freezes, continuing resolutions, and other budgetary restrictions have reduced hiring rates and caused hiring delays over the last five fiscal years.

Republican Congresswoman Kay Granger’s office in Texas cites OPM data demonstrating that straightforward requests like those for direct deposit can typically be resolved in less than 30 days in the best-case scenario.

When OPM calculates processing time, they count the days from receiving the retirement application until the decision is made.

Contact Information:
Email: mddutton@optimum.net
Phone: 2129517376

Bio:
M. Dutton and Associates is a full-service financial firm. We have been in business for over 30 years serving our community. Through comprehensive objective driven planning, we provide you with the research, analysis, and available options needed to guide you in implementing a sound plan for your retirement. We are committed to helping you achieve your goals. Visit us at MarvinDutton.com . Tel. 212-951-7376: email: mddutton@optimum.net.

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M. Dutton and Associates is a full-service financial firm. We have been in business for over 30 years serving our community. Through comprehensive objective driven planning, we provide you with the research, analysis, and available options needed to guide you in implementiong a sound plan for your retirement. We are commited to helping you achieve your goals. Visit us at M. Dutton and Assoiciates.COM. Tel. 212-951-7376: email: mddutton@optimum.net.

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