According to Republican Rep. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) retirees have waited up to 13 months for the processing of their paperwork, compared to the average of just 90 days federal retirees wait.
Staff from President Biden’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) claimed in a recent briefing to the House Oversight and Reform Committee that federal retirees wait only three months for their retirement paperwork to be processed, but, in his border district, Biggs claims “heroic men and women” are waiting more than a year to receive their payments.
I received reports of the Biden Administration slow-walking retirement payments to Border Patrol agents by up to 13 months amid historic inflation.
That is no way to treat these heroic men and women.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) November 2, 2022
“These heroic men and women put their lives on the line and rightly deserve their hard-earned compensation,” Biggs told DailyMail.com in a statement. “Waiting as long as a year to receive payments is unacceptable—especially amid one of the worst inflationary crises in modern history.”
“CBP retirees and employees approaching retirement age deserve answers from President Biden’s OPM,” stated the lawmaker, who fired off a letter to the OPM in which he requested more information on the delays.
In his letter, Biggs noted that CBP retirees receive a partial annuity payment while their paperwork is being processed, and at the end of the processing, they receive a lump sum so-called “catchup payment,” but argued that the uncertainty caused by the delays “makes it impossible for individuals to plan for retirement.”
“Retired agents have reported receiving annuities as low as 11% of the total they were entitled to, with others receiving closer to 50% of their full annuity while they waited months for processing. These challenges are compounded by the fact that Americans are dealing with historic levels of inflation, exacerbated by this Administration’s policies,” Biggs wrote.
“Efforts by our offices to assist constituents experiencing these challenges have been met with silence by OPM. Efforts to reach OPM congressional liaisons by phone and by email have gone unanswered, and the OPM congressional portal provides congressional staff with no information about the status of cases submitted,” the lawmaker continued.
On its website, CBP’s human resources department acknowledges the “substantial delays” in processing retirees have been forced to endure over the last six months and points to “several major issues,” such as a new automated file-transfer process and COVID-related slowdowns as the reasons for the wait, according to the Daily Mail.
Biggs and many of his colleagues still have questions.
Among those listed are such questions as, “What was the average processing time for CBP retirement paperwork from March of 2020 through May of 2021, when CBP’s webpage was last updated?”; “Has OPM resumed full in-person staffing levels at OPM’s Retirement Operations Center in Boyers, PA?”; and, “If not, when will OPM resume full in-person staffing levels at the site?”
Biggs also wants to know why OPM issues “partial annuity payments instead of full annuity payments?”
“What factors are considered when OPM determines amounts for partial annuity payments for CBP retirees?” the letter asks.
In summary, the lawmaker’s letter demands that OPM “provide a breakdown of current retirement paperwork processing times government wide, broken down by employing agency.”
On Twitter, Biggs thanked those who supported his inquiry.
Grateful for the support from @RepNancyMace, @RepDavid, @RepDonaldsPress, @RepGrothman, @TXRandy14, @PeteSessions, @RepFredKeller, @RepCloudTX, @RepDLesko, @CongressmanHice, @RepTiffany, @RepGosar, and @RepClayHiggins.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) November 2, 2022
“Federal employees, especially those who have risked their lives for this country, deserve better,” Biggs wrote.
He asked for a response to the questions by November 30.
“We look forward to your response to this inquiry,” Biggs concluded.
According to the Daily Mail, “CBP agents are eligible for retirement after 20 years of service if they are aged 50 or above or after 25 years at any age.”
“Amid record border encounters and a wave of retirements marked by low morale, CBP began offering up to $10,000 hiring bonus over the summer,” the outlet reveals. “CBP reported a whopping 2.7 million migrant encounters in fiscal year 2022, breaking the previous record in 2021 of 1.9 million.”
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