Federal retirement mostly steady in December after autumn spike, decline

This fall was a volatile period for federal retirement claims – with a noticeable spike in October and mirroring decline the month after. But December seems to have been when activity more or less calmed down, according to numbers released by the Office of Personnel Management.

The agency received 5,135 new retirement claims last month, which is a 12.6% decline compared to 5,876 new claims in November, but a 38.3% decline from the 8,323 new claims in October.

OPM also processed 5,470 claims in December — only 11 more claims than it processed in November. For comparison, 6,992 claims were processed in October, which was the highest monthly processing total since June.

The inventory of claims, or backlog, started trending down again in December with 19,687 claims. That’s after increasing in both October and November, and November’s inventory of 20,022 claims was the highest monthly total since March.

According to OPM’s numbers, the bounce in new claims and claims processing mirrored the changes in average processing times, from October to December. Last month the average processing time was 74 days, unchanged from November but lower than October’s average of 77 days. The fiscal year-to-date average last month was 75 days, down from 76 days in November and 77 days in October.

OPM included a disclaimer in the retirement report that “disability determinations are included in the pending number after approval.”

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Dec 03, 2021 Close Change YTD*
L Income 23.2215 -0.0408 4.32%
L 2025 11.9963 -0.0431 7.70%
L 2030 42.3804 -0.2118 9.58%
L 2035 12.7320 -0.0701 10.38%
L 2040 48.1934 -0.2912 11.19%
L 2045 13.2040 -0.0861 11.85%
L 2050 28.9321 -0.2026 12.55%
L 2055 14.2261 -0.1257 15.21%
L 2060 14.2261 -0.1257 15.21%
L 2065 14.2260 -0.1257 15.20%
G Fund 16.7177 0.0007 1.26%
F Fund 21.0261 0.08 -1.14%
C Fund 68.4493 -0.5796 23.16%
S Fund 80.7041 -1.887 11.80%
I Fund 37.7230 -0.1338 6.04%
Closing price updated at approx 6pm ET each business day. More at tsp.gov
* YTD data is updated on the last day of the month.