Federal Employees News Digest

GAO to examine retirement processing delays

A House panel has tasked the Government Accountability Office with exploring ways to improve the processing of federal retirement claims.

In an Oct. 19 letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro, the leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee noted that although the Office of Personnel Management “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.”

In particular, the panel noted, OPM since March has reported a drop in the percentage of claims processed in 60 days or less—with that statistic declining to 64 percent in September. Moreover, the average processing time for claims processed in more than 60 days was 100 days.

And those delays reach back into agencies as well, the lawmakers noted.

“The committee obtained processing data from OPM that shows a particularly high rate of error at the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Interior and the Department of Agriculture that merits GAO’s attention,” the letter stated.

The committee requested that GAO examine a number of factors, including whether OPM’s guidance instructing agencies on how to save and file employees’ information is actually is effective in making that data easily accessible, as well as whether agencies are following that guidance. The panel also asked GAO to explore the reasons certain agencies have high error rates, and to research whether there is more that OPM, Congress, agencies and employees can do to speed up the process.

See the letter at: https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/2016-10-19-JC-EC-MM-GC-to-Dodaro-GAO-Retirement-Backlog-Request.pdf.

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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