How Many Options Are There to Appeal a Disability Claims Decision in RAMP?
As of June 2018, there are two options to appeal a disability claims decision in RAMP.
Note: On February 19, 2019 the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act (AMA) was officially implemented, thus ending the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program. The most up-to-date information on the AMA can be found on our page: Veterans’ Appeals Reform.
Appealing a Decision in RAMP
In the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP), there are two lanes currently open by which veterans can appeal their claims:
The Supplemental Claim Lane
The Supplemental Claim Lane allows veterans to submit additional evidence to be reviewed with their appeal. Veterans have 30 days after choosing this lane to provide the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with any supplemental information or evidence.
Note: In this lane, the VA has a “duty to assist” veterans in gathering the evidence they need for their appeal.
The Higher-Level Review Lane
The second option currently available in RAMP is the Higher-Level Review Lane. Veterans may request to have a more senior-level reviewer review their appeal. In this lane, veterans do not have the option to send in more evidence with their appeal.
A Third Option Will Be Available to RAMP Participants in October 2018
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) expects a third lane, one leading directly to the Board of Veterans Appeals, to open to RAMP participants who have received a denial in October 2018.
The Notice of Disagreement Lane, known as the “Board Lane”, offers three different dockets for veterans who opt for this lane. The dockets include:
- One for veterans who want the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) to review the evidence of record, meaning the evidence that the Agency of Original Jurisdiction previously reviewed;
- One for veterans who want to submit additional evidence but do not want a hearing; and
- One for veterans who would like to request a hearing with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) and have the option of submitting additional evidence.
How This Differs from the Current System
Once Appeals Reform is fully implemented, veterans will have three appeal lanes to choose from, while the current appeals process, known as the “Legacy” system, offers veterans one lane. The Appeals Reform pilot program, RAMP, allows VA to test aspects of the new system while simultaneously giving veterans the opportunity to take advantage of some aspects of the new system.
Hopefully Appeals Reform will improve the processing flow through each appeal lane, resulting in shorter wait times for decisions, in addition to offering veterans options for their appeal review.
What Are the Benefits of Each Option Within RAMP?
Each RAMP lane has distinct advantages, but which is best for you depends on the specifics of your appeal. Consult with your legal representative before selecting a lane.
Benefits of the Supplemental Claim Lane
The Supplemental Claim Lane lets you submit additional information with your appeal. This is also the lane in which VA has a duty to assist veterans with helping gather evidence for their claims.
Benefits of the Higher-Level Review Lane
The Higher-Level Review Lane brings your appeal before a more senior-level VA employee for review.
The Notice of Disagreement Lane
The Notice of Disagreement Lane, set to open to RAMP participants in October 2018, will enable veterans who have received a RAMP denial to appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
For a Free VA Disability Case Evaluation, Call Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD at 800-544-9144
The veterans attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD can help you fight your VA disability appeal. For a free consultation with a member of our veterans law team, call our office today: 800-544-9144.
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