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Retirement Backlog Falls Slightly In September, But Still Exceeds Projections

Applications pending fell back to roughly June levels, after a two-month uptick.

The backlog of federal retirement claims fell in September to almost the same level as it was in June, after a slight uptick over the summer.

The Office of Personnel Management had an inventory of 14,706 applications at the end of September, according to numbers released on Monday. That is just slightly higher than the 14,511 applications pending at the close of June, and it represents a 10 percent drop from the 16,350 applications in the backlog at the end of August.

OPM received 1,000 fewer claims than it expected in September, likely contributing to the progress.

The percentage of applications processed in 60 days or less also improved slightly, from 69.6 percent in August to 70.1 percent for September.

Still, OPM’s September inventory was well above the projected backlog of 11,042.

Clearing up the retirement claims backlog has been an ongoing struggle for OPM and a constant source of frustration for federal retirees and members of Congress, who hear lots of complaints from their constituents. OPM originally attempted to eliminate the backlog by the summer of 2013, but sequestration forced the agency to scale back its ambitions.

Here is a look at the backlog over the past two years, from OPM:

(Image via  /