The backlog of retirement claims has finally broken 30,000, or 31,307 in January, to be precise. The Office of Personnel Management reported 4,577 more claims awaiting processing last month compared to December, or a 17% increase.
The monthly average processing time rose again to 94 days in January, compared to 92 days in December, and the fiscal year-to-date average was at 90 days as of last month.
The disclaimer from OPM said that initial retirement cases produced in less than 60 days, on average took 49 days to complete, while cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 113 days, or almost four months, to complete.
But Federal News Network has received messages from several employees over the past year who say their claims are taking six months or longer to process and for benefits to be received.
OPM received 13,266 new retirement claims last month, a nearly 75% increase from December but still a decrease from the same time a year ago.
January is typically a popular month for federal employees to retire so they can still take advantage of any increases in the cost of living adjustment. January 2021, nine months after the pandemic through retirement projections into limbo, saw 13,850 new claims filed but only 6,569 claims processed.
Last month, 8,689 claims were processed, a 32% increase year over year and a 21% increase from December. Aside from spikes in October and April, the numbers of claims processed per month never exceeded 9,000 at a time for all of 2021.