As a veteran, you might want to consider participating in RAMP as it could get you a quicker decision on your appeal.
What is RAMP?
The Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP), the pilot program for VA Appeals Reform, gives veterans the opportunity to move their appeal from the current system to the new Appeals Reform system before it is fully implemented.
Appeals Reform creates multiple appeal lanes, allowing veterans to choose which lane best accommodates the needs of their case. The current “Legacy” system offers one appeal path that every veteran must follow.
What Are the Three Lanes Available in RAMP?
The Supplemental Claim Lane
This lane gives you the option to submit additional evidence in support of your claim. This is the only lane in which VA has the “duty to assist” veterans in obtaining evidence to support their claim.
The Higher-Level Review Lane
In this lane, your appeal is reviewed by a more senior VA employee. However, veterans cannot submit additional evidence for their claim in this lane.
The Notice of Disagreement Lane (Board Lane)
RAMP is set to open the third appeal lane to participants who have received a denial within RAMP beginning in October 2018. The third lane is the Notice of Disagreement Lane, commonly referred to as the Board Lane, and takes your appeal directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA). Until Appeals Reform is fully implemented, projected to be in February 2019, only veterans who receive a denial within RAMP will be able to select the Board appeal lane.
When this lane opens, there will be three dockets) for veterans who choose this lane:
- The Direct Docket
- The Evidence Only Docket
- The Hearing Docket
Are There Any Other Benefits of Opting In to RAMP?
The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act came into existence because something needed to be done about the backlog of appeals in the current “Legacy” system.
In addition to the potential for quicker decisions, RAMP also gives veterans the ability to select which review option will work best for their case. By choosing the specific lane best suited for the needs of your case, you may be able to obtain a quicker decision and hopefully receive a grant of benefits.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Opting In to RAMP?
There are two potential disadvantages to opting in to RAMP:
- Once you opt in, you cannot opt out: Once you opt in to the program, you cannot withdraw your appeal from RAMP and move it back into the Legacy system. While you cannot opt out, you can change lanes within RAMP. However, you must wait until you receive a decision in one lane before you can move to the other.
- RAMP is a pilot program. This means that VA is still working out any issues that come up in the new system. Since this system is new, there is still a lot that is unknown about the process.
Am I Eligible to Opt In to RAMP?
Before April 1, 2018, only veterans who had received an invitation letter were eligible to opt in to RAMP. However, now all veterans with a pending appeal not currently before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals are eligible to join.
Steps to Opt In
Opting in to RAMP is straightforward. If you received an invitation letter, you will need to fill out the form you received with the letter, choose your desired lane, and mail it in to VA. If you did not receive a letter, you must print the Opt-In Form from the VA website, fill it out, choose your lane, and mail it in.
Call Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD at 800-544-9144 for a Free Case Evaluation
At Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, our veterans attorneys focus on VA disability law, and our goal is to help veterans receive the benefits they deserve. We can help you put together a thorough and compelling appeal for VA disability benefits.
For a free consultation with a member of the Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD team, call our office at 800-544-9144.« Return to the Veterans' Resource Center
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