OPM: Retirement claims tick up but still fewer than projected

Tuesday - 6/5/2012, 6:19pm EDT

Federal retirement claims rose last month but, for the second consecutive month, the Office of Personnel Management received fewer claims than it anticipated, according to new OPM data.

OPM anticipated it would receive 8,000 claims in May, but it actually received 7,523. That's the second time this year the number of actual retirement claims submitted fell short of the the projection.

OPM also made progress in processing claims. The agency processed 9,066 claims in May, nearly 7 percent more than the 8,500 it projected it would. That puts the agency back on track after it failed last month to reach its monthly processing goal.

OPM received more claims in May than in any other month except for January, when it received nearly 21,500. Federal retirements are typically more common at the end of the calendar year, thus OPM usually receives a higher share of claims in January than in other months.

Overall, the backlog of retirement claims — for which OPM has long been criticized — continued to fall in May. The claims inventory, which has decreased every month, stood at 49,473 at the end of the month. That's more than 9 percent below the agency's projections and a level it hadn't expected to reach until July. Since January, OPM has cut the total backlog by 11,635 claims — a 19 percent reduction.

The agency projects it will receive no more than 8,400 claims over the next few months. However, it's processing goals are set to ratchet up to 11,500 by July.

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