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Federal retirement kept dropping in May but backlog still higher than same time in 2020

Federal retirement activity slowed across the board last month, from new claims to backlogged cases and even the time it takes to process them. The latest numbers from the Office of Personnel Management showed that 7,684 new claims were filed in May compared to 9,414 in April — an 18.4% decrease month over month but a 15.6% increase from the same time a year ago.

The number of claims processed also dropped to 8,451 in May versus 11,396. That’s a 25.8% decline month other month, although April was unusually high for processed claims when compared to historical monthly totals. May’s processed claims were about even year over year.

The retirement backlog decreased from 25,386 claims in April to 24,619 claims in May, but that represented a 35.4% increase from May 2020. In January of this year, the backlog, which has not met it’s goal of 13,000 claims for more than a year and a half, peaked at 26,968 claims and has slowly inched back down.

Meanwhile, the monthly average processing time for retirement claims decreased from 71 to 70 days and the fiscal-year-to-date average processing time decreased from 75 to 74 days. In its report, OPM maintained its disclaimer that, “Initial retirement cases produced in less than 60 days, on average took 39 days to complete; whereas cases that were produced in more than 60 days, on average, took 110 days to complete.”

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