OPM announces another overhaul of federal retiree system
By the Post's Federal Diary columnist Joe Davidson:
In the latest attempt to fix a dysfunctional federal retiree program, Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry announced Wednesday yet another overhaul of a system that now leaves retirees waiting months for their checks.
Berry said he is adding 80 people to a current retirement processing staff of 130, in hopes of making a significant cut in the 138 days it now takes to process claims.
Staffing cutbacks at OPM, similar to those other agencies experienced during the Bush administration, is one reason for the long waits. The 130 employees processed 98,000 claims in fiscal 2010, just slightly fewer than the number handled by 178 workers in 2006, according to OPM.
Berry said 40 new staff members would be hired and another 40 would be transferred from other OPM offices for six months to help deal with the backlog. They will focus only on retirement claims, and not also deal with health and insurance issues that the office handled in the past.
"There is no question that we face a lot of problems and that here has been an ugly history in our retirement processing area," Berry told reporters.
That history includes repeated failed attempts to computerize a federal retirement system that now largely relies on pieces of paper.
Berry said OPM will continue attempts to automate the system, but it will do so incrementally.
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| October 20, 2010; 2:52 PM ET
Categories: Workplace Issues
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