Fedweek

While applications are pending at OPM retirees receive a partial benefit, typically around 80 percent of the estimated final total. Image: Mark Van Scyoc/Shutterstock.com

A group of a dozen House Republicans has pressed OPM on the time it takes for federal retirees to begin receiving their full benefits, saying constituents have complained of cases in which the period was as long as 13 months.

The letter led by Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., focuses on feedback from CBP agents but the underlying issue is a long-running one affecting retirements from all agencies. OPM recently reported that the average processing time there after receiving the records from the employing agency is 89 days—compared with its goal of 60 days—and that of cases taking longer than 60 days the average is 121 days.

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While applications are pending at OPM retirees receive a partial benefit, typically around 80 percent of the estimated final total, with a catch-up payment after the adjudication is completed. But the letter said that in many cases the interim payment actually is only about half of the full benefit and that some have been as low as a tenth.

“Efforts by our offices to assist constituents experiencing these challenges have been met with silence by OPM. Efforts to reach OPM congressional liaisons by phone and by email have gone unanswered, and the OPM congressional portal provides congressional staff with no information about the status of cases submitted,” the letter said.

The letter asked for a detailed breakdown of processing times, including differences by agency and by level of supervision, as well as information on the level of onsite work by OPM retirement processing staff.

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