Delays in annuity payments draw questions from Capitol Hill

New federal retirees rightly expect a smooth transition—from active payroll to retirement and annuity payments. But there are mounting signs of problems, in particular, significant delays in the timely start to these transfers to folks who are winding down their federal career.

Now, a prominent lawmaker is pressing for information and a speedy resolution regarding the problem. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who chairs of the subcommittee on government operations in the House of Representatives, dispatched a letter to Anita Adkins. Adkins is the acting head of the National Finance Center (NFC), the party responsible for efficiently initiating the payments.

Connolly, according to a press release from his office, wants a briefing detailing the source of the reported delays.

“One report found that the NFC normally transmitted service history records within 30 days of an agency request,” Connolly wrote in his letter. “[B]ut it is currently taking anywhere from 60-to-90 days.” 

“That delay has placed undue and unanticipated financial concerns on retiring federal workers who have earned timely administration of these benefits,” he continued.

As of February, OPM reported there were some 4,000 new retirees whose paperwork—and payments—had been delayed. Each year, about 100,000 new retirees leave full-time federal employment, with NFC processing the records needed to initiate their annuities. 

Connolly also noted that these significant delays have become an acknowledged issue among federal employers. “At least three agencies have warned employees of significant delays in retirement processing,” he wrote.

The subcommittee wants the briefing by April 7, according to Connolly’s release.

Reader comments

Sat, Apr 3, 2021 Bobby

I was lucky when I retired on 31 July 2019 in that I got my first annuity check within six weeks. As far as the comment "as Feds we make incredible salaries" what bizarro world does that guy live on?!?

Mon, Mar 29, 2021

At the age of 50 I enrolled into a Dave Ramsey course in preparation for Retirement between 62-65. I am 62 now. During this time I have been able to pay all of my debts off and am presently "DEBT FREE" including a 1 year emergency fund. Always plan for the unexpected!!!

Wed, Mar 24, 2021

I retired 12/31/2020. I called OPM this morning and the representative told me that my retirement package was received just yesterday. Lo and behold I checked my bank account today and a direct deposit from OPM (probably an interim payment) has been scheduled for tomorrow. Not sure what percentage the interim payment would be, but based on the amount to be deposited, it would seem they are paying me for both February and March (?).

Tue, Mar 23, 2021 Bigjer

Ok folks I retired December 31st. My package went to USDA on January 11, 2021. As of today it has not been processed and sent to OPM. I have been told I may not receive interim payments until potentially June. Now I did prepare for a few months, but 6 months is crazy and that is just interim. If no check by July I will be forced to take additional TSP funds which will mean paying taxes. There is nothing in the law that requires timely payments or interest. Whether I planned for retirement or not, no one should have to retire and wait 6 months before getting a paycheck and up to 12 months to get final payments. Go to the USDA NFC employee payment page they brag about paying paychecks on time. They conveniently leave out the 6 month delays for retirees.

Mon, Mar 22, 2021

For all those saying federal employees should have saved enough-that's a different issue. Every American, not just feds, should have money saved up for longterm emergencies. But I hope by the time you guys retire, you will be playing the same tune.

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