What is RAMP?
In November 2017, VA launched Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) with the goal of providing eligible Veterans with the earliest possible resolution of their disability compensation claim.
Initially started as an invitation only program. On April 2, 2018, the Department of Veterans Affairs expanded RAMP, by removing the requirement that Veterans first receive an invitation from VA in order to elect participation in the program.
RAMP is voluntary and will provide eligible Veterans the opportunity to enter the new, more efficient review process outlined in the historic Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 before the law becomes effective in February 2019.
Under RAMP, Veterans can expect to receive a review of the decision on their claim much faster than if they remain in the legacy appeals process. The program will allow participants the option to have their decisions reviewed in the Higher-Level Review or Supplemental Claim Lane outlined in the Appeals Act. RAMP will only run until the February 2019 implementation period for the Appeals Modernization Act. However, VA will continue to process any RAMP elections received after February 2019.
RAMP is part of VA’s larger Appeals Modernization Plan
The legacy appeal process, which was set in law, split jurisdiction over appeals in compensation claims between Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board), adding more complexity.
The Appeals Modernization Act establishes a new review process for VA claims that is timely, transparent, and fair, and thus allows us to improve the delivery of benefits and services to you and your family.
RAMP gives you the opportunity for early participation in the new Supplemental Claim and Higher-Level Review lanes.
Which Review Lane is Right for You?
Supplemental Claim Lane
Select this option if you have additional evidence that is new and relevant to support granting your benefit claim. VA’s goal is to complete these supplemental claims in an average of 125 days.
The VA will assist you in gathering new and relevant evidence to support your claim and will review any new and relevant evidence submitted since it last decided your claim.
If desired, you can continue to submit supplemental claims with new and relevant evidence or use the Higher-Level Review Lane after you receive a decision in the Supplemental Claim Lane by making an election for further review within one year of the date on your decision notice.
Higher-Level Review Lane
Select this option if you have no additional evidence to submit in support of your claim but you believe that there was an error in the initial decision. VA’s goal is to complete these higher-level reviews in an average of 125 days.
A higher-level review consists of an entirely new review of your claim by a senior claims adjudicator.
The Higher-Level Reviewer will only consider evidence that was in VA’s possession at the time you opt-in. You and/or your representative will NOT be able to add new evidence during this process.
The VA cannot assist you in developing additional evidence. However, if the Higher-Level Reviewer discovers an error in their duty to assist in the prior decision, your claim will return to initial decision makers for additional processing to correct the error.
You or your representative can request an optional one time telephonic informal conference with the Higher-Level Reviewer to identify specific errors in the case. Requesting an informal conference may cause some delay in the processing of your higher-level review.
If necessary, you can use the Supplemental Claim Lane after you receive a decision in the Higher-Level Review Lane, by making an election for further review within one year of the date on your decision notice. However, you will not have immediate access to the Higher-Level Review after receiving a decision in the Higher-Level Review Lane.
Who is eligible for RAMP?
You are eligible if you have a disability compensation appeal pending in one of the following legacy appeal stages:
- Notice of Disagreement (NOD)
Form 9, Appeal to Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board)
Certified to the Board but not yet activated for a Board decision
Remand from the Board to VBA.
- Veterans may check the status and stage of their appeal to determine if it meets the RAMP eligibility criteria listed above by visiting VA’s Vets.gov website at: https://www.Vets.gov.
Advantages of RAMP
- Early participation in the new, more efficient review process for VA benefit decisions.
Potentially faster decisions and early resolution of disagreements.
Multiple review options (supplemental claim, higher level review, or appeal to the Board after February 2019).
The same potential effective date for benefits regardless of the review option chosen.
The option to ask for a quick look at a VA decision by an experienced claims reviewer.
A new requirement that you have clear and convincing evidence to change any findings favorable to you in a VA decision