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Washington, DC- The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) yesterday released its first post-initial rollout report on its transformational retirement administration program RetireEZ. The report responds to recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and provides an expanded update on the initial rollout of the program.
On February 25, 2008, OPM successfully began the rollout of RetireEZ to Wave 1 employees, as planned. Approximately 26,000 employees in agencies serviced by the General Services Administration's (GSA) payroll processing center are now covered under the new system.
Prior to RetireEZ, retirees in all three branches of government and the U.S. Postal Service could anticipate a period of interim reduced annuity payments upon commencement of their retirement. The decades old paper-based administrative process responsible for this poor customer service was destined to deteriorate with the onset of the pending retirement wave. Under RetireEZ, this practice is ending.
RetireEZ is now processing Wave 1 agency retirements that have occurred subsequent to the initial rollout. As a safeguard, all retirements continue to be calculated under a legacy process, which itself uses newly automated data files created as part of the modernization process.
"We are pleased to report the majority of cases that processed to date under RetireEZ matched the legacy calculation," said OPM Director Linda M. Springer. "In all Wave 1 cases OPM paid full retirement benefits at the payment commencement date. No longer are retirees under the new system receiving interim payments and waiting for months until their actual payment amounts are calculated. This success is directly attributable to the transformation of millions of paper records to automated data that underlies the modernization. All Wave 1 new retirees are getting better service because of RetireEZ."
OPM is building on this successful beginning for RetireEZ and will periodically migrate remaining functionality into the system when fully tested. Work also continues in support of adding agencies in Wave 2 and beyond, as well as the continued automation and cleansing of employee records.
The technology underlying RetireEZ is the Defined Benefits Technology Solution (DBTS), a best of breed private sector solution which is being modified to comply with Federal laws and regulations. OPM had previously pursued building its own system and spent considerable resources on this path. It also re-evaluated options and determined that this functionality could be purchased as a service yielding lower cost, lower risk, and better performance. Up to now, however, the lifecycle costs shown in the Retirement Systems Modernization (RSM) Office of Management and Budget Exhibit 300 included $69.6 M of non-FTE historical costs for that abandoned approach that were not related to the current RetireEZ approach.
The Exhibit 300 now correctly presents non-FTE project costs as planning and acquisition cost of $106.53 M and operations and maintenance cost covering the period through 2016 of $254.19 M
"RetireEZ is already improving service for Federal employees and its benefits will expand to future retirees as the rollout continues," Springer said. "That is the ultimate measure of success."
Our mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People. OPM supports U.S. agencies with personnel services and policy leadership including staffing tools, guidance on labor-management relations and programs to improve work force performance.