A lot of veterans have received information about, or invitations to join, the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP). The program is essentially a pilot program for the new Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017. The new law will be fully implemented in 2019, but in the meantime, the pilot program allows the VA to test how appeals will be handled in the future. As such, there are several things that Veterans should know before opting in to the program.
It’s entirely possible that the RAMP program will provide veterans with a faster response, but we don’t know that for sure. Those participating in the program are test cases, and many advocates are waiting to see how the program will work.
If you accept the invitation to participate in the RAMP program, you cannot go back to the traditional or legacy appeals process if you are unhappy with the process. Veterans who need to gather additional evidence, or who need the VA to fulfill their duty to assist by gathering service records, providing examinations, or getting records from other government agencies will likely not be best served by this program.
If you do opt in to the RAMP program, choose your review lane wisely. If you have new and relevant to submit in regards to your appeal, select the supplemental claim line. If you’ve already submitted all evidence and would like a decision based on that, you can choose the higher-level review lane.
If you join RAMP and your claim is denied, you cannot appeal until after February 2019, when the new appeals process is in full effect. This may not affect many Veterans in the appeals process, but it will definitely affect those expecting rating decisions in upcoming months.
As stated above, it’s too early to tell whether the program will work more efficiently than legacy appeals. Regardless, Veterans and their advocates should base their ultimate decisions on individual cases and circumstances.
Berry Law Firm was founded by Vietnam War veteran and legendary trial lawyer John Stevens Berry Sr. We are proud to have many military Veterans among our attorneys and staff who understand what it means to serve and know firsthand the struggles many of our clients face every day.
If you need to appeal a VA decision, Berry Law Firm may be able to help. We have been successfully representing veterans before the VA, the BVA, and the CAVC for decades. Contact us today for a free evaluation.
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