No. Once you opt in to the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP), you cannot opt out and return to the Legacy Appeals system (i.e., the current VA appeals system).
For this reason, it is imperative that you learn as much as possible about the program as well as its advantages and disadvantages before you make any decisions. Read on to learn more about RAMP.
What Is RAMP?
RAMP is a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pilot program intended to put the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 (Appeals Modernization Act) to the test before it takes full effect in February 2019. The Act — and RAMP by extension — is the VA’s latest effort to streamline the appeals process and thus prevent future backlogs of appeals that result in long wait times for veterans.
RAMP offers three different “lanes” of appeal:
- The Higher-Level Review Lane: Your appeal goes to a senior claims adjudicator, a reviewer at a higher level than the rating specialist who originally reviewed — and denied — your claim. It is important to note that you cannot add more evidence to your claim in this lane.
- The Supplemental Claim Lane: This lane allows you to submit additional evidence and which will then be reviewed by a different rating specialist than the one who reviewed your claim originally.
- The Board (or Notice of Disagreement) Lane (Set to open in October 2018): When it opens, this lane will allow you to appeal a denial in RAMP to the to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA).
Your participation in RAMP is voluntary. You may choose to try the pilot program or remain in the current appeals system, known as the “Legacy” appeals system. Opting in to RAMP removes your appeal from the Legacy system, and thus you are unable to switch back if you are unhappy with the outcome.
Why Would I Want to Switch Out of RAMP?
On the surface, RAMP seems to be a good option for veterans frustrated with the slow-moving Legacy system. Instead of funneling all the claims into one lane, RAMP allows veterans to choose from three, theoretically making wait times shorter and ensuring your claim goes where it needs to go. However, this new system has not yet been tested, so opting in comes with a certain amount of risk.
The permanence of opting into RAMP as well as its relatively untested systems are good reasons to think hard before making the switch. While VA’s goal is to decide your appeal within 125 days (in the Higher-Level Review and Supplemental Claim lanes) and so far RAMP claims have been processed in well-under 125 days, VA has issued no guarantee that claims will be resolved more quickly in RAMP than in the Legacy appeals system.
Can I Switch to Another Lane If I Picked the Wrong One?
No. Another risk you take when joining RAMP is choosing the wrong lane. If, for example, you choose the Higher-Level Review lane and later realize you needed to submit additional evidence to prove your case, you are stuck until a Higher-Level Review official makes another decision on your claim.
Once a decision is made, however, if you still disagree with the decision, you will be able to switch to another lane by appealing. You will have a one-year period from the date of your decision to appeal to another lane.
Call 800-544-9144 to Discuss Your Options with the CCK Team
Determining whether you should opt into RAMP is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. Our team is knowledgeable about the process and can help you determine whether you should remain in the Legacy system or opt in to RAMP. For a free consultation with a member of the CCK team, give us a call today: 800-544-9144.« Return to the Veterans' Resource Center
- How Many Options Are There to Appeal a Disability Claims Decision in RAMP?
- Which Is Better: TDIU or 100% Schedular?
- Does VA Consider Age as a Factor for TDIU?
- Does RAMP Change the Process for Filing an Initial Disability Claim With VA?
OUR CLIENTS LOVE US, AND SO WILL YOU. SEE WHAT CCK CLIENTS HAVE TO SAY.
- It has been one of the best legal experiences that I have personally encountered. Their follow up and their follow thru has been on perfect terms. Wow, they have given me a celebrity experience! Impressive! Read More »
- These people are FANTASTIC!!! I highly recommend this firm to Veterans everywhere. Honest Legal Help like this is priceless and they are extremely skilled. So Satisfied with the results...5 stars!! Read More »
- I cannot begin to say how grateful I am to this Firm. From the Class A staff to the Lawyers, there are no complaints. Everyone treated me fantastic!! After 30 yrs of fighting on my own, they were able to win my case in less than 15 months. Read More »
- My case was initially rejected by the VA but with the thorough review by CC&K , the VA agreed with the case that CC&K made and awarded my initial rating of 30% retroactive to 1975. Read More »
- We had struggled for eight plus years, with the VA, and got nowhere. Our case was sent to CC&K and in less than one year, we were they won all his back pay and 100% rating. We could not be more pleased. We highly recommend this firm for anyone struggling with the VA. Read More »
- I thought I could go it alone. I filed several disability claims through the VA only to be denied over and over again. I knew I needed help. I found that help with the law firm of Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. They filed for me and won. Read More »
- I'm so glad we sought the help of CCK on my husband's VA claim. We had been going back and forth with the VA for 5 years on his claim without seeing any progress. Then we found CCK and the case was resolved in about a year! Read More »
- I was fighting for my VA disability compensation for 10 years. I was ready to give up and then CCK took my case. I immediately felt at ease because they kept me informed every step of the way and there was so much less stress for me. Read More »