OPM Chips Away at Retirement Backlog, Despite Shutdown

bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock.com

The Office of Personnel Management cut its retirement backlog by 20 percent between September and October, but was slightly shy of its goal for the number of claims processed last month, according to the agency’s latest figures.

The agency completed 11,027 retirement applications in October, 473 claims fewer than it expected to finish that month. OPM also received fewer new applications in October than it anticipated: 7,484 claims versus the 8,400 applications it expected.

Still, the agency is ahead of its projected backlog as of October 2013. The backlog stands at 14,176 claims – 4,966 fewer than OPM estimated it would have in the queue by now and 3,543 fewer claims than it had in September. From October 2012 to October 2013, the overall backlog fell 62 percent.

The number of new applications was up last month: The agency received 1,684 more claims in October than it did in September, a trend that is likely to continue through the end of the year and into 2014 as more federal workers submit their paperwork for retirement. So far this year, 104,073 federal employees have filed for retirement. By contrast, 63,102 federal employees filed for retirement in 2012.

The agency has struggled this year to keep chipping away at the retirement claims backlog because of sequestration and a wave of new applications, many from Postal Service employees taking advantage of the early outs and buyouts offered by the financially strapped agency. In April, OPM was forced to eliminate overtime because of the automatic spending cuts, but reinstated it in August, which helped get the agency back on track. And OPM’s Retirement Services component continued to operate during the shutdown between Oct. 1 and Oct. 16 because it’s not funded through appropriations, so staff kept processing retirement applications during that time.

The agency hopes to clear up the backlog to a “consistent workload” by March 2014 -- roughly seven months later than the original target date of July 2013. The average processing time for a claim is now around 91 days, down from about 156 days in February 2012.

Still, many federal retirees continue to wait several months, and sometimes years, for their applications to be fully and correctly processed. OPM administers benefits for 2.5 million federal retirees and processes about 100,000 new claims annually.

(Image via bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock.com)

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

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

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