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Highlights

In response to a congressional request, GAO identified methods the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) could use to streamline the processing of civil service retirement documents and reduce the backlogs.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Personnel Management 1. The Director, OPM, should implement automated case-control systems for more efficient processing of refund applications and service credit applications.
Closed - Implemented
OPM developed a new process framework for the refund file system and the service credit system, and new systems are being developed by OPM automated systems staff.
Office of Personnel Management 2. The Director, OPM, should revise the processing of survivor benefit applications and insurance cases to allow staff at its records storage facility in Boyers, Pennsylvania to make final decisions and minimize the number of files that are transported between Boyers and headquarters.
Closed - Implemented
As an alternative, OPM is implementing a procedure where the initiation of special payments at Boyers is eliminated, and applications proceed to final adjudication in Washington, D.C.
Office of Personnel Management 3. The Director, OPM, should automate the process of generating annuity payment histories.
Closed - Implemented
OPM is implementing the Post Adjudication Support System which includes automated annuity payment histories.
Office of Personnel Management 4. The Director, OPM, should, as part of the President's Productivity Improvement Program, analyze all OPM retirement processing operations for opportunities to increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve service.
Closed - Implemented
OPM established a schedule under which all retirement processing functions will undergo efficiency reviews over the next 4 years.
Office of Personnel Management 5. The Director, OPM, should minimize the number of case files that need to be transported between Boyers and Washington, D.C.
Closed - Not Implemented
The number of case files transported between Boyers and Washington decreased significantly. The exact cause is unknown.
Office of Personnel Management 6. The Director, OPM, should revise procedures for processing health insurance changes to eliminate unnecessary work and obtain maximum benefit from the health insurance change system.
Closed - Implemented
OPM eliminated several processing steps in handling health insurance changes, resulting in a decrease in the number of unprocessed changes.
Office of Personnel Management 7. The Director, OPM, should ensure that unnecessary processing steps are eliminated during implementation of the automated system for processing changes to the master annuity file.
Closed - Implemented
OPM will design an entirely new work flow rather than simply automating the existing manual procedures, and will eliminate unnecessary processing steps.
Office of Personnel Management 8. The Director, OPM, should regularly assign staff to process service credit applications in order to eliminate delays and enable the retirement fund to increase earnings.
Closed - Implemented
OPM allocated additional resources to the service credit operation, thereby increasing production and decreasing the amount of interest lost to the fund.

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