Veterans with an appeal currently pending before the Department of Veterans Affairs are eligible to opt in to the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP). Read on to learn more about the program.
What Are the Requirements to File My Appeal Via RAMP?
Before April 1, 2018, only veterans who had received an invitation letter were able to participate in RAMP. However, due to low enrollment numbers, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) opened the program to all veterans with pending appeals that are not before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
What Is the Process for Filing a RAMP Appeal?
In order to opt in to RAMP, veterans must submit the RAMP opt-in election form to VA. You can find the form on VA’s website, or you can request that VA send you a copy by calling 800-827-1000.
The form is one page long and asks you to select which RAMP lane you wish to use — more information on the three lanes is below. If you are submitting additional evidence with your appeal, you have 30 days from the time of filing your opt-in election form to submit additional evidence to VA.
Benefits of Joining RAMP
The Legacy process has one path that all claims and appeals follow. This has created a considerable backlog of VA appeals.
In RAMP, there are currently two appeal lanes to choose from. A third is slated to become available to RAMP participants in October 2018 at the earliest.
The two lanes currently available are:
- The Supplemental Claim Lane: This lane lets you submit additional evidence and documentation in support of your claim. It then gets reviewed by a rating specialist.
- The Higher-Level Review Lane: In this lane, your appeal goes to a more senior VA employee for review. If you choose a higher-level review, you do not have the option of submitting additional evidence.
The third lane, (known as the Board Lane or the Notice of Disagreement lane) is scheduled to open to RAMP participants in October 2018 and will enable veterans who receive a RAMP denial to appeal directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. In the new Appeals Reform system, there are three dockets in the Board Lane: the Direct Docket, the Evidence Only Docket, and the Hearing Docket.
RAMP is still relatively new, and VA is still working on identifying and fixing processing issues that arise. However, it appears as though RAMP is seeing some success. As of May 2018, the average time it took to complete a RAMP decision was 59 days.
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