For the month of September, OPM had expected to receive 7,300 claims and process 8,000 claims, which would have resulted in an inventory of 13,142 unprocessed claims. However, fewer federal employees than expected filed for retirement in September. The agency reported it received 6,350 claims and processed 6,680.
Even though OPM projected it could clear an additional 1,320 claims, it was left with a backlog of 12,767 claims. That is 375 fewer than it had planned for at the end of the month.
The remaining inventory demonstrates a drop of 330 claims since the previous month. The number has dropped by more than 10,000 claims since a peak of more than 23,500 in February.
OPM has been tracking and reporting on progress toward cutting the retirement backlog since January 2012. At the time, the backlog topped out at more than 60,000 claims and OPM was the subject of congressional criticism and federal-employee frustration.
In May of this year, OPM started reporting the percentage of claims it processed within 60 days. In the five months so far reported, the percentage has climbed from 76.6 percent in May, around 77 percent in June and July, to 78.5 percent in August, and now 82.3 percent in September.
Looking ahead to numbers for October, OPM expects to receive 7,800 claims and projects it will process 8,500.