2024 Federal Retirement Insights: OPM Backlog Reduction and COLA Updates

Nov 20, 2023

Retirement processing insights

Wondering how the latest OPM updates affect your retirement timeline or finances? Discover critical insights on the reduced retirement processing backlog and the new 2024 COLA adjustments!

OPM Announces Quickest Retirement Processing in Years

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) recently announced that the backlog for retirement processing is at its lowest level in years. This means that federal employees who are eligible to retire can now do so without worrying about long wait times or delays.

This retirement backlog includes all types of retirement, however, not just immediate or disability retirement. The backlog increased significantly during the pandemic and has been slowly decreasing over the last couple of months. If you have been waiting for an initial decision on your Federal Disability Retirement application, you can now anticipate a decision sooner than before.

In other good news, OPM released an IT Strategic Plan. According to this, OPM plans to modernize the retirement processing pipeline, which includes:

  • Electronic retirement records
  • An online retirement application
  • Retirement services surveys

This change will hopefully streamline the entire retirement process for all federal employees and decrease application errors, which is the main cause of retirement delays.

2024 COLA Revealed: What Federal Employees Need to Know

Another critical update, the Social Security Administration released the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase for 2024. The 2024 COLA will be 3.2% and will take effect in December, however, not all federal employees will receive the full COLA. Those in the FERS retirement system will receive 2.2% instead of 3.2%. If you have been approved for Federal Disability Retirement, you will be eligible for COLAs after the first year on the benefit.

COLAs are an important aspect of federal retirement– they help offset the rising cost of medical care, food, and everyday necessities. COLAs are especially important for retirees and people with disabilities on fixed incomes who struggle to earn enough to account for inflation.

It is important to remain up to date on federal news in case your retirement or your future is affected. The OPM backlog has been a constant battle for those applying for their retirement benefit, and with a shorter backlog, federal employees will be able to secure their benefits faster. Additionally, COLAs can help federal employees remain financially secure throughout their retirement.

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