Retirement & Financial Planning Report

A report from the Office of Personnel Management lists the most common problems the agency sees when processing federal employee retirement applications, the kinds of problems that can add delays to what often already is a lengthy process.

While OPM has shouldered most of the blame for months-long waits for retirement benefits to begin—during the interim, new retirees receive only partial payments, with the difference squared up once the final benefit determination has been made—OPM in turn has said that part of the problem results from applications that have errors or omissions, resulting in a back and forth among the applicants, their former agencies, and OPM.

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The IG listed as the most common errors over the last two years as including missing signatures (including from agency HR or payroll office officials); lack of proof that the applicant had been covered by the FEHB program for the prior five years in order to continue that coverage in retirement; a similar lack of proof needed to continue FEGLI insurance coverage; lack of a copy of a marriage certificate if an survivor annuity is elected; lack of documentation for claimed credit for military service; and “unacceptable corrections” to spousal consent to elections.

In past guidance to agencies, OPM has cited similar issues, plus problems with applicable boxes not being checked or questions answered and inconsistencies in information such as Social Security numbers and birth dates.

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