Retirement processing delays can occur for many reasons. Some of these delays can be sourced to HR’s use of inefficient and incomplete retirement software systems and an inability to clearly and rapidly communicate retirement information to employees using the most up-to-date technology.
Retirement information includes a lot of paperwork and frequent communication. Using the latest technology, most of this paperwork can be completed electronically, and will be instantaneously transmitted between HR and the employee.
Processing an employee’s retirement application from the time it is submitted to the Human Resources (HR) office until the employee receives their interim and then full annuity payments can seem to take a long time. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) usually begins interim payments within four weeks while an employee’s full annuity check may take as long as 90-120 days.
Preparing a retirement calculation and application can be a time-consuming process involving several manual steps that can be inefficient for federal HR specialists. Technology can significantly improve on this, reducing the time it takes to complete an application, eliminating several sources of common errors, and improving communications between HR and employees.
There are more people eligible and preparing for retirement in the Federal Government than at any time in history. While the recent retirement numbers have remained relatively stable year over year, more than a whopping 30% of federal employees are currently eligible for retirement.
Concerns have been brewing for the past decade as the number of federal employees eligible for retirement soars. In 2000, there were around 94,000 federal employees aged 60 and above. By 2012, that number had soared north of 260,000. In 2018, there are an estimated 600,000 federal employees eligible for retirement under current guidelines. That is more than 30 percent of the total federal workforce.
Computation of federal retirement benefits poses several challenges for retirement specialists, especially those still using outdated software and manual forms. These roadblocks can slow down the process substantially, creating a backlog of work for the HR specialists tasked with supporting retirees and employees preparing for retirement.
HR retirement specialists in the Federal Government face many issues in optimizing and streamlining the retirement process for a quickly growing population of retirement eligible employees. From complicated rules and regulations that slow down the application process and cause potential errors, to inefficiencies in the system that reduce available resources for counseling and projection, it’s a growing issue faced by most agencies.
Congress has provided guidance to OPM in committee meetings to provide better financial awareness among federal employees. While some agencies have long worked to provide this type of guidance through their retirement support specialists, others still lack the resources and programs to guide the nearly 600,000 federal employees now eligible for retirement.