Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's Good News, Bad News For USPS and Fed Retirees

The good news is that the time required to finalize an employee's application to retire from the federal government or Postal Service has recently improved by about 15%. The bad news is that some retirees are still reporting that it's taking them nine months, even longer, to get their full annuity payments.

The typical time the Office of Personnel Management takes to process a retirement has dropped from 138 days in August to 117 days now, John Grobe wrote recently for FedSmith. But about 10 people submitted comments to the article saying that their own recent applications have been processed far more slowly.

As Dead Tree Edition has pointed out on several occasions, most recently in Do We Really Need New Laws To Get More Postal Employees To Retire?, the long wait to receive full retirement pay is a stumbling block for efforts to downsize the U.S. Postal Service through attrition.

OPM beefed up its retirement staff last year and eventually hopes to modernize its paper-based retirement processing system. It has made headway against the backlog of retirement applications, but was overwhelmed by the usual end-of-calendar-year spike in retirement applications, Grobe wrote.

OPM is also checking with the Postal Service "on current and future downsizings, so that any rush of retirements . . . can be quickly processed," Grobe added.

Two people who commented on the Grobe article said they retired July 31 of last year and will get their first full annuity checks on May 1.

Another commenter, who received interim annuity payments for more than six months that were less than half of the final figure, wrote, "I was taking money out of savings to meet the bills. I have a spouse who was contributing to the checking account also. Best be prepared, if you are the sole source of income when planning your retirement."

Wrote another "I retired 289 days ago and continue to receive monthly payments of $570 -- which is less than 1/4 of my expected annuity."


st said...

I was retired 2-28-2008. Not only did OPM say I was overpaid 7700.after the first year (I agree I owed about 5K) but it still hasn't settled up. Had to file an appeal with MSPB, and OPM was not ready with their side of the story, so hear we sit. Someone actually changed my 3107 and sent the altered copy to my Congresswoman when she inquired for me last summer. So much time has elapsed that they are owing me, now. Boo hoo hoo.

steven said...

I retired from USPS on Dec. 31,2010and got around 70% of what I had calculated my deposit would be after taxes and health insurance on Feb. 1. I must be one of the lucky few because around 1 1/2 weeks later another deposit was made that equalled what was what I was expecting for a full payment. I dont what the problem is but my retirment went without a hitch.

Anonymous said...

Much has been said about OPM improving things which has not really happened yet but also about the Postal Service giving a Better Estimate of an Annuity to Employees as an aid to get more to retire.
Not a single thing has been done about the Retirement Estimates. Employees may have used LWOP for FMLA Conditions, off for extended periods, or many other things. Temporary Higher level assignments figure into the annuity as well and those things are not reflected in the USPS Estimate. Nothing has changed.

Anonymous said...

I retired Jan 1, 2010. Received interim payments until July of 2010, only to find an error that OPM made. Another 4 months before full payment restored. Absolutely impossible to get a hold of OPM. Phones are always busy. They basically hide. This has to be the worst agency on the planet. The entire system should be scraped. Get a private company in there so they can show them how it's done....

PaleWriter said...

117 days?
"Business Days" or "Calendar Days"?
"Business Days" = 23.4 weeks or just shy of 6 months.
"Calendar Days" = 16.7 weeks or just over 4 months.
For those on a under-paid annuity the difference may be important.

Anonymous said...

I'd retired on 20110101, gave OPM my 60 days notice on 20101101. To date, 20110428, I've received on 15% of my schedule retirement pay. On 20101101, OPM should have realized that 30,000 more people were going to retire on 20110101. They have 60 days to hire more workers.

If I didn't have Social Security or my military retirement, I would have gone Postal.

Anonymous said...

Come on, people, when 30,000 people retire all at once, you have to expect long delays, especially with the federal government. Yes, it took almost six months to finally get it straightened out, but I got full back pay. Saving up to get through this period should be SOP for everyone considering retirement.

Anonymous said...

To encourage employees to retire in a VERA the USPS has to make up for the many months of partial retirement payments from OPM by offering eligible employees lump sum incentives. As the OPM retirement processing delay gets longer, the incentives offered have to get bigger to achieve the desired results. We have seen that happen at USPS, where the VER lump sum incentive has gone from zero in 2008 to $20,000 today.

A lump sum incentive is also necessary for the majority of employees in the FERS retirement system, since they get ZERO interim payment from OPM on their FERS annuity supplement. The FERS annuity supplement is roughly half of their monthly pension. The USPS doesn’t tell VER eligibles in FERS how much their FERS annuity supplement is, which is dumb.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone at OPM heard that we have computers now? The whole process needs to be computerized.
Of course there will be billions of dollars in overrun costs, there always is on government contracts.
The latest VERA payment of $20,000 goes to management. Employees don't get that much! As for overpayments, there is NO excuse, OPM should eat the loss.