The Office of Personnel Management’s oft-scrutinized backlog of pending retirement claims from recently departing federal employees reached a six-year low last month.
The federal government’s dedicated human resources agency has now reported decreases in the number of retirement requests that have yet to be processed for each of the five months since January, the month in which OPM sees a spike in new retirement applications each year. And in June specifically, the backlog fell to 16,370 pending cases, which marks the lowest that the backlog has been since 2017, when the number of pending cases briefly fell to roughly 14,000 claims.
OPM’s retirement backlog has long been a sore subject for the agency, but the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated many of the challenges associated with quickly processing federal retirees’ annuity payments, in part due to the fact that the process remains heavily paper-based. As recently as March 2022, the backlog sat at 36,349 pending claims.