Despite making some progress, the Office of Personnel Management has a long way to go before catching up on processing retirement claims.
As of May, OPM had a backlog of 14,551 retirement papers from federal workers that still had not yet been processed. This, however, marks an improvement from February of this year when the backlog ballooned to 23,554 because of a mass influx of new claims.
Overall, OPM has been doing a better job at processing claims as compared to 2012. In July of that year, for example, there was a backlog of 44,679 claims.
Recently, the agency was the subject of an investigative news story by the Washington Post.
The newspaper reported that OPM still mostly relies on a paperwork-driven system to get through claims, instead of implementing a technology solution that would quicken the turnaround time.
Shortly after the Post published the story, several U.S. senators criticized OPM for essentially wasting “millions of taxpayer dollars” because of its “unacceptable” reliance on paperwork to do the job rather than turning to digital claims processing.
OPM’s director, Katherine Archuleta, has said her agency is transitioning to a “fully digital process” and remains “committed” to the “timely processing of retirement claims.”