The Washington Post

Fed retirement system works but problems remain, OPM says

A House committee will hear different takes on how well the retirement system for federal employees is working at a hearing Thursday.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has “implemented several initiatives to develop a 21st Century customer-focused retirement processing system that adjudicates claims in a timely and accurate manner,” Kenneth Zawodny, OPM associate director for retirement services, says in testimony submitted to the Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee on the federal workforce.

The agency’s inspector general, Patrick M. McFarland acknowledges that “OPM has been largely successful in administering the program and meeting the needs of the 2.5 million Federal retirees,” but his testimony also identifies several problems, including a falling accuracy rate and “a lack of leadership commitment” to solve problems with improper payments to dead people.

The falling accuracy rate requires additional work to correct errors and creates delay in getting proper payments to retirees and their families, he said.

“[S]enior leadership within OPM, and specifically RS (retirement services),” McFarland added, “has not demonstrated a sustained commitment to establishing an active and continuing effort to address improper payments made to deceased annuitants.”

Twitter: @JoeDavidsonWP


Joe Davidson writes the Federal Diary, a column about federal government and workplace issues that celebrated its 80th birthday in November 2012. Davidson previously was an assistant city editor at The Washington Post and a Washington and foreign correspondent with The Wall Street Journal, where he covered federal agencies and political campaigns.

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