The number of retirement applications spikes at the beginning of each year because many federal employees plan their retirements at the end of the year to maximize their lump sum payout of unused annual leave.
At the end of November 2018, the Office of Personnel Management had an inventory of 19,162 unprocessed retirement claims.
A spike in applications represents many challenges for retirement processing. The timely processing of initial retirement payments remains one of them for the agency, according to a recent OPM Inspector General report. The agency’s 2018-2022 strategic plan set a target of an average case processing time of 60 days or less. The Retirement Services unit met that goal in FY2018 with an average of 59 days. However, the claims backlog as of September 2018 was 17,628, a 4.5% increase over this time last year.
Per the IG report, Retirement Services is taking steps to address delays in processing including:
- Continuing to integrate correspondence and claims processing improvements
- Using overtime to help with timely processing
- Enhancing reporting tools to monitor and address Retirement Services workloads
- Providing monthly feedback to agencies and payroll offices and alert them of trends and improvement opportunities
- Working with the agency’s Chief Information Officer to explore new uses of technology to help improve processing and reduce wait times
- Identifying training needs for agencies and conducting workshops on the retirement application process
Once your application is at OPM, unfortunately, there is not much you can do but wait. That’s why it’s extremely important to ensure your application is correct and complete when OPM gets ahold of it.
This is also true for your federal disability retirement application. If you wanting to apply for federal disability retirement, and/or need help with filing, give us a call at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form. We’d love to schedule a FREE consultation with you.