As of May 2018, 16,547 have elected to opt in to VA’s Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP), VA’s pilot program for the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (VAIMA). As of May, 20,302 legacy appeals have been withdrawn. Once a claimant opts in to RAMP, they are not able to return to the legacy appeals system. The legacy appeal system refers to VA’s current process for claims and appeals.
Breaking Down the Numbers for RAMP
Of the 16,547 claimants that have opted in to RAMP, the breakdown is as follows:
- 65% have opted in to the Higher Level Review Lane
- 35% have opted in to the Supplemental Claim lane
- The average number of days to complete a decision in RAMP is 59 days
- The grant rate for those electing the Higher Level Review lane is 43%
- The grant rate for electing in to the Supplemental Claim lane is 31%
- The overall grant rate is 39%
- The total amount of money paid out in retroactive RAMP grants is $16 million.
What We Know
The appeals teams in the following Regional Offices are exclusively handling RAMP appeals:
- St. Petersburg
Since these Regional Offices are only handling RAMP appeals, this means they are not handling legacy appeals anymore. From what we understand, the legacy appeals from these Regional Offices are being sent to other Regional Offices for decisions.
VA is also thinking of bringing five additional Regional Offices appeals team online to exclusively handle RAMP appeals. This indicates that VA expects more claimants to opt in to RAMP, following VA’s decision to open the program to any claimant who has an appeal pending as of April 2018.
What About the Board?
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals has decided to start hearing RAMP appeals beginning in October 2018. This means that for any claimant who opted in to the program and received an adverse decision, they will be able to appeal their case to the Board for a new decision starting in October.
VA stated that they intend to run a different docket at the Board for RAMP appeals separate from legacy appeals. Right now, the Board has a single docket that hears cases in the order of the date they were appealed, with the oldest at the top of the docket. The practical effect of a separate docket for these appeals at the Board is those cases will likely be decided quickly.
There are still many unknowns at this time but CCK will continue to post updates as we learn new information about RAMP.