The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has faced scrutiny over what a group of 12 Congress and U.S. Senate members described as “excessive delays” in federal retirees’ benefit payments.
“It has been reported that average retirement processing times have been far above the agency’s stated goal of 60 days—instead often exceeding 90 days,” wrote a group of 12 Congress and U.S. Senate members in a recent letter to OPM Director Kiran Ahuja.
“We are aware of at least one case that has been in processing for  months,” the lawmakers wrote, adding that “we also have experienced delayed response time to congressional inquiries.”
OPM is in the midst of an effort to modernize its retirement services over the long haul. The agency recently shared a resource designed to help address more immediate concerns for retiring federal workers.
OPM has released the OPM Retirement Quick Guide, a three-page guide to voluntary retirement “that walks federal employees through what to expect as a retirement application is processed and benefits are determined, including helping employees estimate when the can expect to receive their interim and first annuity payments,” according to an OPM statement.
“OPM remains committed to helping federal employees transition from serving the American public to enjoying their hard-earned retirement,” Ahuja said in a statement. “The Retirement Guide will help employees better understand the retirement application process and ensure federal retirees and their families get the information and assistance they need during this important transition.”
Improving the Customer Experience
Developed in partnership between OPM Retirement Services and the Lab at OPM, the new three-page resource guide is designed to improve the customer experience for federal retirees in a number of ways, according to OPM, such as:
- Consolidating retirement-related information into an easily accessible three-page guide;
- Helping employees understand the claims process and timeline, as well as estimate when they can expect to receive their interim and first regular monthly annuity payment;
- Helping employees and the federal HR community submit complete and accurate retirement applications to cut down on delays; and
- Improving customer experience by highlighting convenient, self-service support that expands the options for customer service beyond the retirement services call center.
The guide also shares important information and misconceptions “to demystify the federal retirement application process,” according to OPM, including an estimated timeline of the retirement application process. The guide highlights circumstances that could lead to delays in case processing, such as court orders, incomplete applications or cases requiring special annuity computations related to certain positions.
“This is a wonderful guide for all federal employees to help prepare for retirement,” said Taiwanna Smith, the benefits officer for Department of Defense Civilian Personnel Management Service, in a statement.
“[The guide] provides essential information needed to fully comprehend the Federal retirement process. Employees and retirees will appreciate the countless hours saved trying to research information that is very important to them. It also features key information related to OPM Services Online which is an incredibly important tool for obtaining post-retirement information.”
02 June 2023
HR News Article