Many of you may have recently noticed or read that the wait time for processing a retirement claim with the federal government is growing. The average processing time for a federal retirement application has grown to 138 days, or nearly 5 months. What you may not know is why.
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) processes nearly 100,000 retirement applications every year. Not all of these are disability retirement applications, but all federal retirements are calculated by the same staff. In 2006 the OPM had a staff of nearly 180 people working on these calculations.
That work force was significantly reduced due to federal budget cuts. In the fiscal year of 2010 OPM has a workforce of only 130. This has created an enormous backlog. People who were desperately awaiting retirement benefits cannot get in touch with anyone in the OPM office to inquire about the status of their claim.
But there’s good news on the horizon. OPM has been given permission to hire 40 new staff members as well as transfer 40 other employees from within the OPM to help deal with the backlog. Hopefully this helps to alleviate the wait time between approval for retirement and the first payment.