The Office of Personnel Management in June once again made progress on its retirement claims backlog, cutting the number of outstanding applications to the lowest point in years.
OPM processed 8,787 claims in June, cutting the backlog by 15 percent since May to 12,391. This was in part due to about 1,400 fewer former federal employees submitting their retirement applications than OPM expected. The human resources agency processed more than 77 percent of the claims within 60 days, a slight improvement from May, the first time OPM made the statistic public.
The speedier processing paired with fewer submissions allowed OPM to beat its projected inventory for the end of June by more than 2,000 claims. OPM’s elimination of the decades-old backlog is now within reach; the agency originally attempted to eliminate the backlog by the summer of 2013, but the budget cuts from sequestration forced it to scale back its ambitions.
In March, a bipartisan group of senators blasted OPM for wasting taxpayer dollars by continuing to use an outdated system to process claims. The lawmakers wrote a letter to OPM Director Katherine Archuleta after The Washington Post published a scathing report on the inefficiencies of the agency’s claims processing.
Notwithstanding a couple blips typical of the beginning of the year, OPM’s claims processing has been trending positively.