Delays in Processing Civil Service Retirement Claims

Gao ID: 112144 April 22, 1980

In a review of delays in processing civil service retirement claims, it was noted that the situation is worse today than ever before. In January 1978, the number of on-hand, uncompleted claims was about 57,000; the number is now nearly 90,000. The time required by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to process claims has increased from an average of 45 to 95 days. One of the reasons for processing delays is that employing agencies do not always provide complete data on a timely basis, and OPM efforts to improve agency submissions have not significantly improved the problem thus far. However, the major factor contributing to the processing delays and backlog is the OPM shortage of experienced claims examiners which results from a high turnover rate. GAO believes that civil service employees deserve a transition from employment to retirement that is as uncomplicated and free of financial worry as possible, and survivors of these employees should not be required to live for long periods without the financial benefits to which they are entitled. While OPM is fully aware of the magnitude of the problems it is facing and is taking steps that should help, more basic changes are needed to refine and speed up the process. GAO hopes to make some meaningful recommendations for change in its final report on the review.

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