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."