Office of Personnel Management

Despite prior actions to prepare for reduced funding, according to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), sequestration adversely affected some operations and services to the public, such as efforts to streamline and automate the exchange of federal employee human resources information; promote human resource information technology consolidation, standardization, and modernization; and process retirement claims. OPM had already prepared for a reduction in its fiscal year 2013 funding consistent with the President’s budget request prior to sequestration. These actions helped position the agency to operate within the funding level for 2013 under sequestration. For example, a hiring freeze begun in October 2012, though not directly related to sequestration, helped the agency to achieve the reductions required by sequestration without resorting to furloughs. Nevertheless, according to OPM officials, OPM took actions to implement sequestration that adversely affected its ability to provide certain customer services in a timely fashion and to process federal employees’ retirement claims. For example, OPM terminated a contract with a call center that handled customer inquiries regarding retirement. OPM also temporarily eliminated employee overtime which, along with other factors, impeded the agency from meeting its priority goal for processing retirement claims and addressing the existing backlog by the end of July 2013.