Will There Be a Notice of Disagreement Lane for RAMP Appeals to the Board?
Yes, there will be a Notice of Disagreement Lane for appeals in the RAMP system. However, the NOD lane does not open to Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) participants until October 2018 at the earliest.
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.
What Is the Notice of Disagreement Lane?
The Notice of Disagreement lane, which is more commonly known as the Board lane, allows veterans to file their appeal directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (the Board) within RAMP upon receiving an unfavorable RAMP decision on their claim.
As of now, this lane is expected to open to RAMP participants in October and give veterans who received a denial within RAMP access to three different dockets (i.e., waiting lists):
- Direct Docket: By selecting this docket, veterans will be submitting their appeal to the Board without any new evidence and without requesting a hearing. The Board will review the evidence of record previously reviewed by the Agency of Original Jurisdiction (usually the local Regional Office). VA is aiming to process all appeals in this docket within 365 days.
- Evidence Only Docket: In the Evidence Only Docket, veterans can submit new evidence in support of their appeal after receiving an adverse decision in RAMP. They have 90 days from the date they elect this option to submit the evidence. While VA believes this docket will proceed more quickly than the Hearing Docket, it could be slower than the Direct Docket.
- Hearing Docket: In the Hearing Docket, veterans will attend a hearing with a Veterans Law Judge. Once they have had their hearing, they have 90 days to submit any additional evidence to the Board in support of their claim.
The process for appealing to the Board in the new Appeals Reform system differs from the current (“Legacy”) system because it has three dockets, whereas the Legacy system has only one docket for all appeals going to the Board.
How These Three Dockets in the Board Lane Might Help Get Quicker Decisions
Under the Legacy System, there is a large backlog of cases awaiting a BVA decision. If VA meets its goal for the Direct Docket of a 365-day processing time, veterans who appeal a RAMP denial to the Board may receive their decisions quicker than in the Legacy process.
While we cannot yet say for certain that RAMP participants will receive Board decisions more quickly, RAMP decisions from Agencies of Original Jurisdiction do appear to be coming through more quickly than those in the Legacy system. As of May 2018, veterans participating in RAMP were receiving decisions in an average of 59 days.
What Appeal Lanes Can I Currently Choose From if I Opt In to RAMP?
As of June 2018, there are two lanes into which you can submit your RAMP appeal. They are as follows:
- Supplemental Claim Lane: You can submit additional evidence with your appeal and have it reviewed by a rating specialist. This is the only lane in which VA has the “duty to assist” veterans in gathering evidence for their claim.
- Higher-Level Review Lane: Your appeal goes to a more senior-level reviewer at VA, but you cannot submit additional evidence.
Call 800-544-9144 to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with a Member of Our Team
The Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD veterans law team has been closely following every RAMP development since day one. For a free case evaluation to determine if we can assist you with your VA disability case, call 800-544-9144.
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