Federal Retirement Processing Time On The Rise

Federal Retirement Processing Time On The Rise

This Is Why It Takes Time to Process Your Federal Retirement


If you work in the federal government, then you would already know that it takes considerable amount of time to process retirement from the job.

The current mean monthly processing time for the federal retirement system decreased in August after steadily increasing over the summer, coinciding with a jump in retirement requests for the period of July, according to statistics from Office of Personnel Management of the White House, which has the crucial job overseeing this program.

However, the processing timeframes for August were almost a full month longer than the agency’s target of sixty days.

It is common for people to apply for retirement as the year’s conclusion draws closer. The Office of Personnel Management of the White House often receives a considerable number of applications between January and February, but the full impact on duty doesn’t manifest itself until the middle of April.

The greying of the federal bureaucracy puts further pressure on OPM’s retirement planning since approximately one in three federal employees will be eligible to retire by 2023. Nevertheless, despite pleas from Congress, federal employee unions, and the Government Accountability Office for OPM to speed up, the two-month processing target has not been achieved in two years.


So, Why Does This Problem Exist?

There are several reasons why this problem is occurring. The continued use of paper-based applications and manual processing was one of numerous reasons for the backlog in the process that GAO discovered. OPM has stated that its vision plan includes creating an electronic application form and a system to record retirement data, but as of 2019, it has not provided an expected time period or budget for the program.

The OPM plans to pilot a digital retirement system that will enable government workers to officially retire digitally, based on the agency’s budget justification for the year 2023.

In its proposal, OPM also asked for more than $225 million in salary and expenditure money for human and non-personal assets, including nearly $19 million expressly for IT advancements.


Applications That Are Not Properly Filled and Understaffing Are Also Contributing To the Issue

Applications that are incomplete, causing call for backtracking also lead to delays. OPM is lacking data required to complete processing in up to forty percent of submissions.

OPM has also taken measures to resolve understaffing issues, including employing overtime pay and hiring more staff. GAO discovered that OPM did not track productivity in overtime or link overtime data to application processing statistics.

Even though it was an OPM standard practice to use greater overtime compensation during peak retirement dates, the number of applications processed did not rise over the fiscal years 2013 to 2017.

According to OPM officials, over the last five fiscal years, recruitment freezes, continuing resolutions, and other budgetary restrictions have reduced recruitment rates and caused staffing disruptions.

Republican Congresswoman Kay Granger’s headquarters in Texas provides data from OPM that demonstrates that in the best-case scenario, straightforward demands like those for bank transfer can typically be resolved in less than 1 month. It is crucial to note here that when OPM calculates processing time, they check the time from when they receive the retirement application until the decision is made.

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