Senators express frustration over OPM backlog of retirement claims

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. Charlie Neibergall/AP

This article has been updated to include a comment from the Office of Management and Budget.

Three senators from states with high volumes of federal retirees wrote to Office of Management and Budget acting Director Jeffrey Zients on Monday to express their displeasure with the retirement benefits backlog at the Office of Personnel Management.

The letter was organized by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and co-signed by Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., in response to a Feb. 1 congressional hearing in which OPM Director John Berry was called to explain the backlog of nearly 50,000 claims at the end of 2011.

“After looking into this issue, we were deeply concerned to learn that this appears to be a vast, ongoing and systemic problem,” the letter stated.

Moira Mack, OMB spokeswoman, said, “Director Berry has stated that resolving this issue is his top priority for 2012.  OMB agrees with OPM that the status quo is unacceptable and we are working closely with Director Berry to make sure all necessary steps are taken.”

Virginia and Maryland are home to more than 250,000 federal retirees, and the senators have heard from many frustrated constituents. Even though Warner is not a member of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs subcommittee, which conducted the Feb. 1 hearing on the issue, he still attended the event.

The senators said in the letter that they wanted OPM to submit to Congress a report on all federal agencies that have filed inaccurate or incomplete information about retirees. They also wanted OPM to submit monthly updates to Congress and work with OMB to develop a more efficient retirement processing system, using available technology, to be implemented by fiscal 2014.

OPM, which has drawn criticism since 1987 over its retirement processing, takes an average of 156 days to complete a claim, but many retirees wait a year or more for their payments.

Berry stated during the hearing that OPM expected to address the delays by hiring more personnel.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.