The Office of Personnel Management continued to whittle away at its retirement claims backlog in August, even though it received about 1,300 more claims than it expected to for the month.
For August, OPM planned on receiving 7,400 claims and processing 8,000 claims, leaving it with a projected 13,842 in unprocessed claims in its inventory, according to data released Friday.
Instead, the agency received 8,702 claims and processed a total of 9,225. This left it with 13,097 in its inventory at the end of the month, which is about 800 more claims processed than it had planned. So, even though it received more than expected, it processed more as well.
The inventory of 13,097 unprocessed claims represents a reduction of more than 10,000 claims from the backlog’s peak of 23,642 in February.
Since May, OPM also has been reporting on the percentage of claims it is processing within 60 days. The agency’s goal is to process 90 percent of the claims it receives in 60 days or less. In those four reported months, the agency has inched toward that goal, going from 76.6 percent (May) to 77.3 percent (June) to 77.9 percent (July) to 78.5 percent (August).
OPM officials had originally hoped to cut the retirement claims backlog to a manageable level by September 2013. But when sequestration cuts went into effect, the agency could not pay employees to work overtime and claims processing slowed.
OPM expects to receive 7,300 retirement claims in September and process 8,000.