The Office of Personnel Management continued to whittle down its backlog of retirement claims during the month of June, although at a slower rate than in recent months.
OPM received 6,627 new retirement claims, which was fewer than the 8,000 it projected it was going to receive for June, according to new figures from OPM. It also processed 8,787 claims, which was slightly more than the 8,100 it expected to process in June. This allowed OPM to cut its inventory from the 14,551 claims it had at the end of May down to 12,391.
Although OPM continued to cut its backlog by processing more claims than it projected in June (8,787), it processed fewer overall claims than in each of the previous three months — March (11,812), April (10,002) and May (10,498).
OPM has been tracking and reporting on progress toward cutting the retirement backlog since January 2012. At the time, the backlog topped out at more than 60,000 claims and OPM was the subject of congressional criticism and federal- employee frustration.
The agency originally hoped to virtually clear the backlog entirely by September 2013. But the across-the-board budget cuts, known as sequestration, forced the agency to cut work hours for employees who process retirement claims and threw a wrench in the original timeline.
Under the revised goal for beating the backlog debuted last summer, the agency wants to have the claims inventory down to a more manageable level, so it it can begin processing 90 percent of cases within 60 days.
This is the first month OPM will began reporting on its progress toward that benchmark. The percentage of claims processed in 60 days or less rose from 76.6 percent in May to 77.3 percent in June.