What is RAMP?
The Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) was launched in November of 2017 as a part of the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017.
The purpose of this new program is to speed up the appeals program.
This is one of the three-step processes to redo the VA’s claim process.
It is a voluntary program. Meaning you have to weigh your options and decide what the best choice for your specific claim is.
As of April 1, 2018, any Veteran with a currently pending appeal will be eligible to join the RAMP program.
RAMP has two different paths you can choose to apply. The Higher-Level Review or Supplemental Claim.
If there is no new information to submit, but you believe there to be an error from your first claim decision this would be the best option for you.
VA wants to complete these claims within 125 days.
Your claim will be reviewed from the beginning by a new, senior claims adjuster.
You CANNOT add new information during this process. The only information that will be reviewed is evidence the VA already possesses. Basically, this option is only beneficial if you know that you have all your necessary information submitted, but the VA made a mistake from your first award.
Supplemental Claim Lane
The Supplemental Claim is the correct option for you if you have new and relevant information for your claim. This includes new or never included buddy letters, NEXUS letters, medical records, etc.
The VA will support you by gathering new information and reviewing past and current documents.
If you find new information for your claim or are still denied after going through one path of RAMP, you can re-apply under the other way.
How do you qualify?
According to the VA’s website, this program is eligible for those under one of the following appeal stages:
- Notice of Disagreement (NOD)
- Form 9, Appeal to Board of Veterans’ Appeals
- Certified to the Board but not yet activated for a Board decision
- Remand from the Board to VBA
If you decide to opt into this program, you can expect your claim to be reviewed faster than if you go through the legacy appeals process.
The VA claims that through this program, your appeal will be returned much faster than under the normal appeals process. Your claim will be reviewed by Higher-Level Review or Supplemental Claim Lane.
The negative side of RAMP
If your claim is denied under RAMP, you will not be able to appeal it until the full program is in effect, this will be February 2019 at the earliest.
You also cannot go back to the traditional appeals process once you decide to opt into RAMP.
While the VA had just gone through their preliminary program, not many invited Veterans were willing to switch over to the RAMP program. Their reasoning being that if they got “out of line” in the regular appeals process, and their appeal was still denied, there would be no way to go back.
Have you tried this new program? Comment below! We want to hear your opinion on the VA’s newest addition.