Katherine Archuleta attributes a decrease in retirement backlog to process improvements, hard work. (Mike Morones/Staff)
The backlog of pending pension claims at the Office of Personnel Management fell in May for the fourth straight month, in part from an increase in applications processed, according to numbers released May 6 by the Office of Personnel Management.
OPM received 8,431 retirement claims in May —higher than the projected 6,800. The agency was able to process 10,498 — more than the projected 9,000, according to OPM.
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 nearly doubled over the following two months to 23,554 before starting to fall again in March.
OPM Director Katherine Archuleta said in a March 24 blog post the agency has made “significant improvements” in speeding up pension processing over the last year, and the backlog of claims was reduced 71 percent from January 2012 to September 2013. The average time to process a new retirement claim was 61 days — down from 91 days in July 2013 and 156 days in December 2011, according to Archuleta.
“Process improvements achieved through the hard work of our [Retirement Solutions] employees and strategic efforts have allowed for this reduction in inventory,” Archuleta said.
Archuleta said the agency has also begun a transition to a digital processing system and will be implementing a digital case management system to help process retirement claims.