The Office of Personnel Management processed more retirement claims in October than it expected to, and the overall backlog is down 39 percent since January, according to the latest statistics from the agency.
OPM received 8,138 new claims last month -- 3,814 less than it received in September -- and managed to complete 12,228 applications. The backlog now stands at 37,086 retirement claims, down from 61,108 claims in January. The agency typically receives more retirement applications at the end and beginning of each year.
The agency estimated it would receive 7,000 new retirement claims in October and process 11,500 claims during the month.
In September, OPM completed 12,563 retirement claims -- the most claims processed in a single month so far this year and 1,063 more than it expected to complete. The agency received 11,952 new claims in September, 4,952 more than it anticipated, and 2,979 more than it received in August. A growing influx of new retirement claims this past summer slowed OPM’s progress in tackling the backlog, but the agency picked up the pace: Between September and October, OPM reduced the overall backlog by 10 percent.
Despite the slow and steady progress OPM has made tackling the backlog, many federal retirees still wait several months for their applications to be fully processed. OPM administers benefits for 2.5 million federal retirees and processes about 100,000 new claims annually.