September federal retirement lower but steady as FY 2020 ends

New federal retirement claims held largely steady in September, though they were still below their levels a year ago.

Numbers released this week from the Office of Personnel Management showed 6,244 new retirement claims received by the agency last month, down from 6,775 new claims received in August. Conversely the number of claims processed increased, from 5,836 in August to 6,540 in September.

September 2019 saw 7,456 new claims, but lower rates of retirement has been a trend this year due partially to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the pandemic’s side effects have not been entirely bad.

The backlog of claims also declined from 18,570 in August to 18,274 last month. But it’s still higher than the 17,376 backlogged claims in September 2019.

Meanwhile, the retirement processing times appears to have leveled out for the time being, following a dramatic spike in July when the average increased by two weeks. Last month it took an average processing time of 73 days — unchanged from August — while the fiscal year-to-date average processing time increased from 68 to 69 days, according to OPM.

As they’ve done since the pandemic first hit, the agency noted in its report that, “Initial retirement cases produced in less than 60 days, on average took 47 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 117 days to complete.”

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