The Office of Personnel Management increased its processing of federal-worker retirement claims in August after two months of backsliding that started when the agency cut overtime for workers handling the applications.

OPM processed 10,955 claims last month, compared to 8,683 in June and 7,724 in July, according to a progress report from the agency.

OPM eliminated overtime for processors in April as part of its plan to trim costs under the government-wide spending reductions known as the sequester. The agency resumed limited overtime in August.

A backlog of retirement claims has plagued OPM for more than two years, causing processing delays that have lasted hundreds of days in some cases.

Former OPM director John Berry implemented a plan in 2011 to reduce the average wait time from 156 days to 60 by the end of this year. But the agency retreated from that goal last month, citing the loss of overtime hours and a spike in retirements earlier in the year.

OPM has said it now expects to reduce the average delay to 60 days by summer 2014. The agency has nearly halved its backlog since last year, leaving 22,750 unprocessed claims in August compared to 44,679 in July of last year.

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