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Retirement Backlog Shrinks Slightly, But Claims Processing Slows

Number of claims completed has decreased for the past two months since an overtime ban took effect.

The Office of Personnel Management continued to chip away at the federal retirement claims backlog in June, though it completed fewer claims than expected and the backlog remains higher than anticipated.

The pile of incomplete claims now stands at 25,542, a reduction of 2.5 percent, or 668 claims, compared with the previous month. The agency had anticipated the backlog would stand at 16,078 at the end of June, according to a monthly status report released Friday.

OPM in April warned that budget cuts from sequestration could hinder progress on the retirement backlog, because the agency would be forced to cut overtime hours for claims processors.

While the backlog has continued to shrink in the two months since the overtime ban went into effect, the number of claims processed has decreased in both of those months. Claims completed fell from 13,582 in April before overtime ended, to 10,954 in May to 8,683 in June. Meanwhile, the number of incoming applications increased slightly in May and June.

Some federal retirees still wait several months, or even years, for their applications to be fully processed. OPM administers benefits for 2.5 million retirees and completes about 100,000 new claims annually.

(Image via qvist/Shutterstock.com)