Despite uptick in retirement claims, OPM reduces backlog by 2K

Monday - 5/5/2014, 5:33pm EDT

April was a bad news/good news sort of month for the Office of Personnel Management when it comes to the processing of federal retirement claims.

The bad news is the agency received a total of 8,047 claims in April, which is about 1,500 more than the 6,500 it projected that it would receive for that month, according to new OPM data.

The 8,047 claims OPM received in April were an increase from the 6,831 claims it received in March.

The good news is the agency processed 10,002 claims in April. This means OPM not only processed the same number of claims that it took in, but it was also able to reduce the number of backlogged retirement claims by nearly 2,000.

OPM ended April with 16,618 claims in its inventory. That's down from the 18,573 backlogged claims it had at the end of March. More importantly, OPM was able to reduce its backlog below its April target of 16,842.

While March saw fewer claims received, OPM did process about 1,800 more claims in that month, processing 11,812. The trends for both months, though, are well above the numbers for January and February, which were 8,724 and 9,767, respectively.

In fact, the 10,000-plus monthly processing level is close to where OPM was before the government shutdown in October 2013.

In a March 24 blog post, OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said the backlog was down nearly 70 percent from a peak of more than 61,000 cases in January 2012, when OPM launched its initial plan to shrink the backlog. As of February, the average time to process a new retirement claim is down to 61 days — less than half of what it was before OPM debuted its plan.

In May, OPM expects to receive about 6,800 claims and to process another 9,000. By the end of the month, the agency expects to reduce the backlog to about 14,642 claims.

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