Can I Opt-In to RAMP Without Receiving an Invitation Letter?
As of April 1, 2018, veterans can opt-in to the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) without receiving an invitation letter. If you have a pending VA disability appeal in the current system (“Legacy” system), you may now choose to take advantage of RAMP.
Note: On February 19, 2019 the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act (AMA) was officially implemented, thus ending the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP). The most up-to-date information on the AMA can be found on our page: Veterans’ Appeals Reform.
How Do I Opt-in to RAMP if I Did Not Receive an Invitation Letter?
When the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) started RAMP, the pilot program for the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (VAIMA), it did not invite all veterans with pending appeals to join. Instead, it announced that a limited number of veterans would receive invitation letters each month.
Once invited, a veteran had the option of joining RAMP or staying in the legacy system. VA hoped enough veterans would join RAMP so that any issues with the new system could be identified and worked out before Appeals Reform is fully implemented in February 2019.
However, because not enough veterans were opting-in to RAMP, VA elected to open the program to all veterans with pending legacy appeals beginning April 1, 2018.
To switch in to RAMP, you can fill out a publicly available form and cover sheet. Once you send this form to VA, it should move your appeal into RAMP quickly.
When you fill out the form, you must request placement of your appeal in one of the review lanes:
- Supplemental Claim Lane: In this lane, you are allowed to submit new evidence and new information along with your appeal. Note, this is the only appeal lane in which VA has a duty to assist veterans with the development of evidence to support their claim.
- Higher-Level Review Lane: Your claim will be reviewed by a more senior VA employee. However, you may not submit additional evidence or documentation with your claim. The review will be conducted based on the evidence of record.
- The Board of Veterans’ Appeals Review Lane: Your appeal goes directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. This lane is not currently open to RAMP participants but, according to VA, it is scheduled to open to RAMP participants only in October 2018. This means that only veterans who received a denial within the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program will be able to select the Board appeal lane.
Can I Opt-Out of RAMP Later?
No. The decision to opt-in to RAMP is permanent. While you cannot return to the Legacy appeals system, you can change your appeal lane. However, you must wait until you receive a denial to move your claim to another lane.
For example, if you chose the supplemental claim lane and you determine it was not an issue of evidence but rather an incorrect decision, you must wait until VA grants or denies your appeal before you can change your lane.
For a Free Consultation, Call 800-544-9144 Today
At Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, we want to help you win the VA disability benefits you deserve. For a free consultation with a member of the CCK veterans law team, call our office today at 800-544-9144.
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