The backlog of pending pension claims at the Office of Personnel Management ballooned last month, driven higher mainly by an influx of new retirement applications, newly released agency figures show.
By the end of January, pending claims totaled about 21,300, up almost 70 percent from the 12,600 awaiting action a month earlier. But in January, OPM received about 17,400 new claims, more than triple the number for December.
New pension applications typically spike with the arrival of a new year; OPM had actually expected to receive 20,000 retirement applications last month. But the agency also fell short of its own workload goals. The agency had expected to process 11,500 claims last month; the actual number processed was approximately 8,700.
By a longer-term yardstick, however, OPM is continuing to make progress in improving its claims processing speed. Last month’s backlog was down about 40 percent from the January 2013 figure of almost 36,100 claims.