January saw the biggest one-month exodus of new federal retirees in at least three years. The 22,187 federal employees who retired last month represented a 3 percent increase over January 2012, according to new data by the Office of Personnel Management.
Last month’s retirement total was 13 percent higher than the 19,672 retirements in January 2011, and 38 percent higher than the 16,043 in January 2010.
January is almost always the month that sees the largest number of federal retirements.
OPM also said it processed 12,527 pension claims last month, which very nearly matched the record 12,563 claims processed last September. The sharp increase in retirements increased the backlog of unprocessed claims from 26,402 in December to 36,062 in January.
However, the backlog currently has about 2,000 fewer cases than OPM expected at this point. Since July, when OPM’s newly hired pension processors finished their training, OPM has beaten its monthly goal of processing 11,500 cases six out of the last seven months.