Daily Labor Report® is the objective resource the nation’s foremost labor and employment professionals read and rely on, providing reliable, analytical coverage of top labor and employment...
Oct. 21 — A bipartisan group of House members is asking the Government Accountability Office to look into how the Office of Personnel Management can improve the way it processes federal workers’ retirement applications.
“Our federal workforce deserves a transition to retirement that is efficient, timely, and uncomplicated,” four House members said in a letter to GAO chief Gene L. Dodaro. To that end, the GAO should “study the steps that both OPM and the human resources offices at various agencies can take to ensure the timely processing of a retirement claim,” the letter said.
The GAO should examine problems with both the timeliness of retirement claims and, for some agencies, a high rate of errors in processing employee data, according to the Oct. 19 letter from Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.).
Chaffetz is the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Cummings is the ranking member on the committee. Meadows is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, and Connolly is the top Democrat on that panel.
The OPM since March “has reported a steady decline in the percentage of cases processed in 60 days or less, reaching a low point of 64 percent” in September, the letter said. “For those cases not processed in 60 days or less, the average processing time in September was 100 days,” it said.
Data from the OPM show a high rate of errors in processing retirement applications for those retiring from the departments of Veterans Affairs, Interior and Agriculture, along with the Social Security Administration, the letter added.
“While OPM continues to study how best to modernize retirement processing, it is critical that OPM ensure the current paper processing system is efficiently meeting the needs of retiring federal workers,” the letter said. “OPM must also work with its partner agencies to ensure accurate and efficient processing.”
OPM spokesman Samuel J. Schumach told Bloomberg BNA in an Oct. 21 e-mail that the OPM in fiscal year 2016 exceeded its goal of processing 90 percent of retirement claims in 60 days or less, completing the cases in an average of 54 days.
“However, there are periods every year—usually in January and July—that can lead to peaks in volume,” Schumach said. “During these peaks, and when funding is available, OPM provides overtime” to retirement services employees to reduce the resulting backlogs, he said.
The OPM as of last month had a backlog of 15,146 retirement cases, according to a chart from the agency that’s updated monthly. A backlog of 13,000 cases represents a “steady state” for the agency, which receives new retirement claims every month, according to the chart.
To contact the reporter on this story: Louis C. LaBrecque in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
Text of the letter is available at http://src.bna.com/jxE.
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)