The Office of Personnel Management stepped up its game in March, processing 13,262 retirement claims, the highest amount for a single month in years. That, combined with significantly fewer federal employees filing for retirement in March, led to the biggest reduction in the backlog since at least October 2014.
Only 7,767 federal employees filed for retirement in March, down more than 5,000 from February. January and February usually see the highest number of retirement claims; the numbers tend to dwindle throughout the year, with the exception of a small bump in July.
Currently, the retirement claims backlog stands at 18,730, more than 5,000 above the steady state of 13,000. That’s significantly down from last month’s 24,225, the highest it had been since at least January 2014.
Claims did take a little longer this month; the average processing time for claims resolved in March was 49 days, up slightly from February’s 46 days. However, that number is still better than OPM performed in 2017, when the average processing time hovered in the 60s or 70s for 11 out of 12 months.
That performance helped the fiscal-year-to-date average processing time continue to drop from 59 to 57, the lowest it’s been since at least October 2016.