The Office of Personnel Management received significantly fewer retirement claims in November than in recent months -- but also processed fewer claims -- the agency announced Wednesday.
OPM received 6,584 retirement claims last month, the lowest total since February. It processed 11,966 claims, the lowest total since June. The overall backlog now stands at 31,704, a 48 percent reduction since the beginning of the year.
Despite the slow and steady progress OPM has made in tackling the backlog, many federal retirees still wait several months for their applications to be fully processed. On average, it takes 156 days to process a claim, but many retirees wait much longer than that for their full annuity checks.
As it has been all year, OPM remains ahead of its goal for backlogged claims. The agency anticipates it will reduce the backlog to less than 13,000 claims within the next year.