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    customer service

    Black and white graphic with an image of a mountain and text which reads: Budget of The U.S. Government

    Customer service is at the core of everything we do at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The President’s fiscal year 2017 budget proposal released this week embraces that core principle and provides additional funding for OPM’s efforts to improve customer service for Federal retirees and their families.

    Each year, more than 1.5 million current or retired Federal employees and their families call OPM’s Retirement Services team with a wide range of questions. We also receive more than 280,000 questions via email and more than 100,000 new retirement claims each year. Requests for assistance range from tax questions to inquiries about what happens when a Federal retiree has passed away. And we hear from Federal employees who have detailed questions at each step in the retirement process.

    Each of these interactions is important, and every one of these individuals is entitled to a timely, accurate, and detailed response. At OPM, we are consistently working to improve the quality of this experience for our customers. The President’s budget provides additional funding to help us decrease the amount of time a customer has to wait to talk to a representative or get a response to their email. And, the added resources will help us reduce the time it takes to process a retirement claim.

    At Retirement Services, 80 percent of our budget is devoted to personnel. But, at certain times in the year that is not enough and we need to add to our customer service staff to help handle spikes in retirement claims.

    For example, the beginning of each year is the busiest, with 26 percent of retirement claims being filed during the first six weeks of the year. In January, we brought detailees on board from the human resources retirement sections of the United States Postal Service (USPS) and from the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) to help us handle the dramatic increase in claims.

    While we certainly benefit from the dedication of these public servants, their service also improves the entire retirement process. When they return to their home agencies, they bring with them increased knowledge of our process, enabling them to better prepare retirement claims for processing by OPM.

    We are constantly working to improve the customer experience. We are administering surveys and analyzing the data to identify customer service trends and to zero in on areas where improvement and change is needed. We are also updating our training and are tracking the progress of employees who take our customer service courses.

    Retirement Services is also consistently upgrading and adding features to our Retirement Services Online website and providing web-based tutorials for customers. Retirees can use the website to update their mailing addresses, change their Federal and state income tax withholding designations, request a duplicate annuity booklet or print their Retirement Services ID card. The more retirees and their families turn to our online services for basic needs, the quicker our team can respond to more complex questions.

    We want the customer service experience to be excellent for each Federal employee who has served this great nation and deserves to receive accurate and timely benefits. The President’s FY2017 budget will help us deliver on this important goal.

    As our investigation into the cyberintrusions and theft of information at OPM continues, I want to reassure our Federal family how seriously I take our responsibility to provide you with timely and accurate information, as well as the resources to protect you from any malicious activity that may come from these events.

    For individuals who were impacted by the incident involving personnel data that we announced on June 4, OPM is offering credit monitoring services and identity theft insurance through CSID, a subcontractor to Winvale. This includes credit monitoring, as well as access to credit reports, identity theft insurance, and recovery services and the services are available immediately at no cost.

    I am deeply troubled by the challenges some employees and retirees have been having while trying to take advantage of these services. I want you to know that we are working to quickly improve your experience. And we’ve made progress.

    Over the past week, CSID has been increasing the number of call center employees available to answer your questions. Additionally, they are equipped with the latest list of Frequently Asked Questions to make sure everyone is getting updated and consistent information.

    Wait times are also a concern. The good news is that, because CSID has been adding additional call center employees, the wait times are down significantly. A new feature has also been added giving you the option to have the center call you back when it’s your turn. This keeps you from having to wait on hold.

    We know that many of the calls coming in are from people who would like to know whether they were affected. To help keep those calls from slowing down people calling with enrollment issues, a new feature was added this week. It allows individuals to self-select if they are calling to find out if they qualify for coverage or for any reason other than to enroll. Those calls are now answered by a separate team, helping to speed up your access to the call center.

    I encourage you to read through our Frequently Asked Questions before calling CSID. We’re updating this page as new information becomes available, and we hope to get as many answers to your questions as we can, as quickly as possible.

    Each and every day, as we investigate these attacks and aggressively work on the redesign of our computer network, we are keeping in mind the millions of men and women who have and continue to serve the American people. We honor your contributions and the trust you put in us to keep your information safe. I pledge that we will do everything we can to give you the support you need.

    A listing of the services provided by CSID. Learn more at

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