By David Burden
VSC Project Manager
Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) is a program developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to streamline the appeal process. The new law was signed by the President on August 23, 2017 with the purpose and goal to gain a faster, more efficient review process in resolving a veteran’s appeal within 125 days. Furthermore, a veteran opting into RAMP will automatically have his or her appeal removed from the old and cumbersome appeals process.
However, veterans should be aware of the RAMP eligibility rules before making a decision to opt into the program. RAMP-eligible rules fall under the following four stages: (1) have a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) filed with the VA; (2) a filed Form 9, Appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA); (3) certified appeal to the BVA (but not formally placed on its docket); or (4) remanded from the BVA to the VA. Therefore, it is not in the veteran’s best interest to pull his or her appealed claim from the BVA docket – because the claim is likely to be adjudicated before the 125-day RAMP process is completed.
Although RAMP was signed into law in August 2017, the law does not take full effect until February 2019. However, the VA is allowing eligible veterans an early opportunity to select between two appeal processing lanes: (1) Supplemental Claim Lane, or; (2) Higher-Level Review Lane. The former allows you to add additional new and relevant evidence in support of your claim, while the later uses a complete review of all the evidence already in the file. Regardless of the veteran’s choice, the VA’s goal is to have a decision ready within 125 days.
Moreover, should the veteran’s claim be denied through the RAMP process, he or she will still have an option to have their appeal reviewed again with either review lane or to file another NOD. For more information and help from a qualified professional Service Officer, call (330) 643-2830, stop by our headquarters, located at 1060 E. Waterloo Rd., or visit www.vscsummitoh.us.