Retirement processing times drop for first time in months

After five months of increasing, the average processing times for federal retirement claims reversed course in November. The monthly and fiscal year to date average processing times had both reached record highs of 95 days in October, but last month they decreased to 79 days and 88 days, respectively.

After November’s dramatic spike, the FYTD average processing rate is still the highest it’s been in a year. But the monthly average is now back to around what it was in February and June of this year, according to the most recent numbers from the Office of Personnel Management.

Meanwhile, OPM received 8,006 new retirement claims in November, or 260 more than the month before and 2,390 more than it received the same time last year. The number of claims processed also decreased by 2,701 claims to only 8,010 for the month of November, and the claims backlog rose by 256 claims to 26,361 still unprocessed last month.

That represents 6,339 more claims than the backlog had in November 2020, and more than twice OPM’s desired steady state of 13,000 claims in the inventory. The backlog has stayed above 20,000 claims since the beginning of this year.

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