Retirement Planning Retirement PlanningRetirement Planning
Advice on how to prepare for life after government.

A Thoroughly Modern Retirement System

ARCHIVES
Editor's note: Regular Retirement Planning columnist Tammy Flanagan will return next week.

About a year ago, when Linda Springer took over as director of the Office of Personnel Management, she pledged to fix the lag time in retirement benefits processing.

When federal employees first retire, the pension check they receive is often just an estimate -- a lowball estimate -- of the benefit they actually accrued.

"If you've moved from place to place, several agencies -- and by and large we've been in a paper environment for a lot of your records -- it will take time for your actual annuity amount to be finalized," Springer said last July. "That's a system that needs to be fixed."

The back-office processes are now getting some help from global consulting firm Accenture, OPM announced late last week. The personnel management agency awarded a $40 million, four-year contract to the company to develop business transformation and information technology models to transfer the government to an electronic retirement system.

"With Accenture's support and expertise, we are one step closer to eliminating the current, antiquated, paper-driven system of retirement benefits processing," Springer said in a statement announcing the contract.

Accenture's agreement is the second in a three-step project called Retirement Systems Modernization. As part of his fiscal 2007 budget proposal for OPM, President Bush suggested $26.7 million in funding for that project.

In early May, OPM announced a 10-year, $290 million deal with Hewitt Associates of Lincolnshire, Ill., to carry out the first step. The idea is to create a one-stop electronic shop for federal employees and retirees to access their retirement records and for the government to compute pensions.

A third contract is in the acquisition process and OPM officials expect to award it in August. It will provide the actual conversion of paper records into the electronic realm. The entire process, OPM said, will not be completed until 2010.

Accenture's task is more theoretical. The business transformation half of the contract will, in OPM's words "align the people, processes and organization to achieve maximum benefits and efficiencies of the solution," including training, communication, organizational design and competency assessments for the processors.

In the technological half, the company will develop in-house technology for OPM to efficiently sort the data housed in the system, and harmonize the new system with OPM's financial systems.

A modernized system will allow the government to tabulate benefits for new retirees in five days or less, OPM said. The system also will improve accuracy of the claims from 90 percent to 93 percent in the older Civil Service Retirement System and from 95 percent to 97 percent in the Federal Employee Retirement System.

 
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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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