Retirement claims hold steady as OPM makes progress on backlog

The number of federal employees submitting retirement claims in March held steady from February, according to an update released by the Office of Personnel Management. Meanwhile, OPM increased the number of claims it was able to process last month, leading to a decrease in the backlog.

In March, 10,048 federal employees filed for retirement, only 744 less than in February. Typically, January and February are the most popular months to submit retirement claims. In 2017 and 2018, the number of claims submitted in March dropped by about 25-30 percent compared to February of those years. While the immediate aftermath of the longest government shutdown in history revealed no retirement surge, the number of claims submitted last month could indicate the beginning of a delayed response.

Meanwhile, OPM managed to process 13,217 retirement claims in March, almost 3,000 more than in February. Both the number of claims processed and the increase from February are consistent with OPM’s performance in 2018, and an improvement over 2017, when OPM processed 10,602, an increase of about 2,300 from February of that year.

The total inventory of retirement claims now stands at 20,201, more than 7,000 above OPM’s “steady state” goal of 13,000.

OPM also managed to make improvements on how quickly it processed claims in March. On average, the number of days it took to process each claim fell to 50 in March, an improvement of eight days from February. That helped to bring down the average processing time for the fiscal year to date to 55 days, two fewer than in February.

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