Federal retirement claims ticked slightly upward in July. But the Office of Personnel Management for the third month in a row processed more claims than anticipated and continued cutting back on a longstanding backlog of claims.
Data for July, released by OPM, show the agency received 8,660 claims last month. OPM anticipated receiving 8,400. Additionally, the agency processed more than 12,300 retirement claims last month, well above its goal of processing 11,500 claims.
July was the first time since April that OPM received more claims than planned for.
OPM has mostly met its processing benchmarks since January, falling short of its goal in only one month so far this year. That steady progress has allowed the agency to continue cutting back on a backlogged inventory of claims that has long plagued the agency.
At 44,679 claims, there are now fewer retirement claims stuck in the backlog than there were in December 2011, when OPM began tracking them as part of a new push to eliminate the logjam. The agency was hit by a wave of incoming retirement requests in January — typical for the beginning of the year — which inflated the backlog in the early months of 2012.
Overall, the claims backlog has fallen by more than 16,400 claims since January — a nearly 27 percent decrease from January.
OPM expects to receive about 8,000 claims in August and plans to process 11,500.
Francis Rose is the host of In Depth, which airs weekdays from 8-10 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. metro area and online everywhere. Francis has covered all three branches of the federal government as a broadcast journalist since 1998. He joined Federal News Radio in 2006, and launched In Depth in 2008 as a daily show focused on connecting federal executives to the information they need to do their jobs better.