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.
In an effort to expedite the process for reviewing appealed benefit claims, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) created the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP). This initiative followed President Trump’s signing of the Appeals Modernization Act of 2017.
RAMP was designed to expedite the review process of an enormous backlog of appeals and provide veterans with eligible appeals the earliest possible resolution. Under the legacy process, veterans waiting for an appeals decision may not see one for up to seven years. RAMP is a voluntary option for veterans to “opt-in” to a new and potentially faster and more efficient process.
If you’re a veteran waiting for a decision on your benefits claim appeal, you may consider opting into RAMP. However, an experienced, skilled VA disability attorney can help you understand if this new initiative is right for you.
Opting-In to RAMP
If you're a veteran with a pending disability claim, you may be sent a letter by the VA offering you the opportunity to opt-in to RAMP. You're eligible to receive this letter and opt-in if you:
- Have a notice of disagreement (NOD) filed with the VA
- Have appealed to the Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA) using a VA Form 9
- Have an appeal that’s been certified to the Board but isn’t activated for a Board decision
- Have an appeal that’s been remanded from the Board to the Regional Office
What it Means If You Opt-In
If you choose to opt-in to RAMP, you’ll have the following three different options, or lanes, to choose from to expedite your appeals claim:
- Higher-Level Review. If you think the VA made an error in its decision about your claim, you can choose this option to it fully reviewed by a new claims adjudicator. Using existing evidence only, your claim will be re-evaluated.
- Supplemental Claim. Under this option, you’re allowed to submit new evidence about your claim, such as an updated diagnosis from your doctor, new test results, or you have additional lay statements. Your claim will be reviewed by the same claims adjudicator as before, and the VA will try to process your appeal within 125 days.
- Appeals to the Board. If you used the Higher-Level Review lane and are denied by the VA, you can still appeal to the BVA after February 2019.
If You Need Help With Your VA Disability Appeal
The attorneys at Cuddigan Law have filed thousands of appeals for veterans whose claims have been denied. Our firm fights hard for those veterans injured and disabled during their military service.
If you need help with a claims application or your appeal, the Cuddigan Law legal team will walk you through the process and work to ensure your best possible chance for getting an approved claim, whether you are submitting it for the first time or are waiting on an appeal.