Inspector General at OPM Retirement Services ; image: pile of paper documents

  • OPM IG released report saying retirement services division still needs to improve
  • Cases with no errors take significant less time to process
  • Backlog of pending retirement packets reaches lowest point since 2017

The paper-based process that OPM has used since the 1970s at Iron Mountain has been criticized since the early 2000s for being dated. But the fact that retiring from the federal government can be so intricate that no computer programs have been able to automate the process is a telling fact. The Inspector General (IG) at OPM released a report noting the retirement services division needs work. Five out of six GAO recommendations from 2019 have not been satisfied and the move to digitalization has been announced but the finer details of the modernization plan has been kept mostly under wraps.

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The IG report also suggested that OPM hold training sessions so feds can better understand how benefits programs like FEHB and FEGLI function post-retirement. Also, improved training on retirement claims attached to a court order (like in a divorce situation) should be conducted as the more complex retirement cases are more prone to errors. And once a retirement claim is categorized as “unhealthy” (has an error), the expected time to complete the process skyrockets over 100%. The IG took a random sample from six months of completed retirement claims and found those without errors were completed on an average of 53 days since OPM received it whereas “unhealthy” retirement packets took on average 108 days. For retirement claims completed in November, the average completion time for “healthy” claims was 39 days but was 119 days for claims with at least one error.

OPM Backlog Dips 5% Last Month

The overall backlog of pending retirement claims at OPM dropped 5% November and reach its lowest point since 2017 with 15,826. Of the claims that were completed last month, some agencies had 0% submissions with errors (NASA), some had error rates as high as 36% (Department of Commerce). The DoD had an error rate of 23% but had the highest number of packets submitted with errors (1,779).


Until Next Time,

Benefits Ben, STWS

**Written by Benjamin Derge, Financial Planner, ChFEBC℠ The information has been obtained from sources considered reliable but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Benjamin Derge and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors.

Inspector General at OPM Retirement Services ; image: pile of paper documents

Inspector General at OPM Says Retirement Services Needs Improvement