What Is the Difference Between the Higher-Level Review Lane and the Supplemental Claim Lane?
The difference between the Higher-Level Review lane and the Supplemental Claim lane is who reviews your appeal and whether you can submit new evidence.
The Higher-Level Review Lane
In RAMP’s (the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program) Higher-Level Review Lane, you send your appeal for review by a more senior VA official than the person who initially reviewed your claim. The senior reviewer can overturn a decision, return a decision for a correction, or confirm the previous decision. This review is done based on the evidence of record.
The Supplemental Claim Lane
In the Supplemental Claim lane, a rating specialist will review your appeal and any additional evidence you submit and determine whether to grant or deny your claim. Veterans who choose this lane will be able to include additional information with their appeal.
In this lane, VA has a “duty to assist” veterans in obtaining the evidence they need to support their claim.
Are There Any Other Options in RAMP?
Not at this time. Once the new Appeals Reform system is fully implemented, there will be a third appeal lane- the Notice of Disagreement Lane (Board Lane). This lane allows you to appeal your case directly to the Board. However, this lane is not available to RAMP participants until October 2018 at the earliest.
Can I Change Lanes If I Choose the Wrong One?
Yes, but not immediately. If you file your appeal in one lane but realize you chose the incorrect one, you must wait until you receive a decision in that lane before you can opt in to a different lane. For example, say you chose the Higher-Level Review lane but realize that the issue stemmed from a lack of evidence establishing service connection. You would need to wait until a decision is made on your appeal in the Higher-Level Review Lane before moving your appeal to the Supplemental Claim lane.
Am I Eligible to Join RAMP?
When VA first rolled out RAMP at the end of 2017, it limited access to the program by only inviting a set number of veterans to participate in the program each month. Those who wanted to switch from the “Legacy” (current) system to RAMP had to wait to receive a letter inviting them to participate.
However, due to a low number of veterans actually opting in to the program, in April 2018, VA opened RAMP to all veterans with pending appeals (i.e., you submitted a VA Form 9, you filed a Notice of Disagreement, the Board remanded your appeal, or the Board certified your appeal but it has not yet been activated for a decision). That means you can join even if you did not receive a letter inviting you to opt in.
The Legal Team at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD Offers a Free Case Evaluation — Call 800-544-9144
At Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, we strive to help disabled veterans get the benefits they deserve. For a free case evaluation with one of our team members, call 800-544-9144.
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