The Office of Personnel Management’s backlog of retirement claims continued to climb in February, reaching a record high of 35,424. This is despite OPM reporting a drop in the number of claims awaiting processing compared to January — 1,025 fewer claims or a 7.7% decrease in claims received.
The monthly average processing time fell to 89 days, the first time it was below 90 days since November 2021. In January, it was 94 days. The fiscal year-to-date average was 90 days as of February, however.
OPM issued a disclaimer with the latest data release saying that initial retirement cases produced in less than 60 days on average took 44 days to complete, while cases that were produced in more than 60 days on average took 120 days, approximately four months, to complete.
Last month, OPM received 12,241 new retirement claims, a slight drop from January, but still a significant increase from the same time a year ago. In February 2021, OPM received 7,495 retirement claims. Year-over-year, that is approximately a 63% increase in the number of claims.
In February, 8,124 claims were processed. In January, OPM processed 8,689 retirement claims. Notably, February is a shorter month, having 20 working days compared to January’s 21 working days. That is about 4% less time compared to a 6% drop in the number of claims processed compared to January.