Fewer feds retired in May, but OPM is taking longer to process those claims

New retirement claims data from the Office of Personnel Management shows a reversal of previous trends around how fast the agency is processing cases.

The number of federal employees waiting for the Office of Personnel Management to process their retirement claims is at a 17-month low. But the average time it takes to process those claims is inching back up.

In May, OPM took, on average, 62 days to process a claim, up from 56 days in April and 50 days in March. After two consecutive months of expediting claims, OPM took longer to process claims, on average, in May than at any other time since October, according to new data released by the agency.

OPM currently has 17,228 claims in the backlog, down 574 from the month before.  At the same time, it also received more claims last month, 7,877 compared to 6,993 in April.

The agency says its goal with the backlog is to get it down below 13,000. The backlog hasn’t been anywhere near that level since December 2017 when it was 14,515.

May also continued to see the number of federal employees who are retiring remain under 10,000 for the second month in a row. In the first three months of the year, the average number of employees filing retirement claims was 11,368.

The Department of Homeland Security was one of the few agencies to see an increase in the number of retirements month-over-month. OPM says the number of claims from DHS increased to 683 from 559, while other large agencies, such as the departments of Defense, Justice and Veterans Affairs, saw a significant decline in the number of cases filed.

The Library of Congress has the highest percentage of cases with one or more errors at 28% last month, while Justice and the State Department were each at 26%, respectively. Overall, the governmentwide error rate is at 15%.

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