In November 2017, VA launched the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP). RAMP provides a unique opportunity for Veterans with a pending disability compensation appeal to have early access to the more efficient review process in the historic Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 before the law takes effect in February 2019.
Previously, a Veteran with a pending appeal could only opt in to RAMP after receiving an invitation from VA. As of April 2, Veterans no longer need an invitation to participate in RAMP. Now, all Veterans with a pending disability compensation appeal can choose to participate in the new decision review process.
Under RAMP, Veterans have two options for review: a higher-level review lane or a supplemental claim lane, as outlined in the new law. Regardless of the lane Veterans pick, they will retain potential effective date protections for benefits. Here are the two available lane options under RAMP:
- A reviewer will conduct a de novo, or “new,” review of the previous decision based on the existing evidence of record.
- Reviewers can overturn previous decisions.
- You may not submit new evidence.
- An informal conference is available; however, requesting an informal conference may cause some delay in processing
Supplemental claim lane
- You may submit new evidence to support your claim.
- VA will help you develop evidence in support of your claim under our legal “duty to sssist.”
It’s important to know in order to participate in RAMP, Veterans must:
- Have an active appeal pending for a disability compensation claim in one of the following appeals stages:
- NOD (notice of disagreement)
- Form 9
- Certified to Board (not activated)
- Submit a signed RAMP Opt-in Election form.
VA encourages all Veterans with a qualified disability compensation appeal to participate in RAMP to take advantage of the benefits and speed of the new review process. However, if a Veteran does not want to participate, or if their appeal is not eligible for RAMP, VA will continue to process the appeal in the legacy appeals process.
To learn more about RAMP and Appeals Modernization, visit https://benefits.va.gov/benefits/appeals.asp
This article was submitted to VAntage Point by VA’s Appeals Management Office, which is responsible for the Veterans Benefits Administration’s appeals-related program policy, planning, budgeting, staffing and operational control.