The following article applies to the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (“RAMP”), a pilot appeals program for the Appeals Modernization Act (“AMA”). RAMP was in operation from November 2017 to February 2019 when AMA was fully implemented. Some of the information provided in that article may not apply to the new appeals system, AMA.
Veterans with an open appeals claim may receive a letter from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The letter is to inform you of a new initiative known as the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP).
This initiative was created after President Trump signed the Appeals Modernization Act of 2017 to expedite the review process of the VA’s backlog of appeals and provide veterans with the earliest possible resolution of their appeals claims. If you opt-in to RAMP, you may receive an earlier resolution on your appeal, without changing your potential effective date.
If you’re a veteran waiting for a decision on your claims appeal, opting into RAMP might be an option to consider. However, a knowledgeable VA disability attorney can help you understand if this new initiative is right for you.
Eligibility for RAMP
To be eligible for RAMP, your appeal must be for a “disability compensation-related claim,” and your claim must be pending in one of four “appeal stages” when you elect to opt-in, as designated by the VA:
- Notice of Disagreement (NOD) has been filed
- Form 9, Appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA), has been filed
- Certified to Board (but not activated)
- On remand from the BVA
What to Know About the Letter
If you choose to opt-in to RAMP, you'll fill out the “Opt-in Election Page” of the letter. By completing and mailing in the form, you’re electing to participate in RAMP.
As noted on the form, if you elect to participate, you “withdraw all eligible pending compensation appeals in their entirety, and any associated hearing requests, to participate in VA’s RAMP initiative” and agree to have all eligible appeals proceed under the new process described in the Appeals Modernization Act. You cannot return to the legacy appeals system with your claim.
On this form, you choose between two options:
- To have all “eligible issues currently on appeal processed as a Supplemental Claim.” This means you can submit new and relevant evidence that supports your claim. However, your claim will be reviewed by the same claims adjudicator who reviewed it previously.
- To have all “eligible issues currently on appeal reviewed in the Higher-Level Review process.” This means a new claims adjudicator reviews your claim. However, the review is based on existing evidence, and you can’t submit new medical reports or information in support of your claim.
If you choose to participate in RAMP, you’ll have 60 days to respond to the letter. If you choose not to participate, you don’t need to respond to the letter in any way.
We Can Help With Your VA Disability Appeal
The attorneys at Cuddigan Law have filed thousands of appeals for veterans whose claims were denied. Our firm cares about veterans injured during their military service, and if you need help with a claims application or your appeal, let our legal experts assist you. We’ll walk you through the process and help ensure your best possible chance for getting an approved claim, whether you're submitting it for the first time or are waiting on an appeal.