The Office of Personnel Management must do a better job of processing pension applications and modernizing its archaic systems, a group of senators said in an April 4 letter to OPM chief Katherine Archuleta.
Senators Jon Tester, D-Mont., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Mark Begich, D-Alaska, and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said OPM has taken 61 days to process applications for nearly 30 years and by hand, adding to the cost and forcing retirees to wait months for full pension payments.
“For almost 30 years, the modernization process has encountered a cycle of attempts and failures because of repeated project mismanagement and a lack of proper oversight,” the senators wrote in the letter. “This egregious waste needs to stop.
The senators pointed to failed attempts to modernize pension processing systems in 1987 and in 2008, which cost the government a combined $131 million and said new attempts must come with accountability and strong oversight.
“For almost 30 years, the modernization process has encountered a cycle of attempts and failures because of repeated project mismanagement and a lack of proper oversight,” the senators wrote.
The backlog of pending pension claims at the Office of Personnel Management grew to 23,554 in February, fueled by higher than expected retirement applications, according to numbers released March 6.
The agency had gradually been able to make inroads into its pension backlog before reaching a low in December at about 12,637. But that number has nearly doubled over the last two months.■