The process of applying for and receiving benefits from the VA can be overwhelming. It can be difficult to locate, gather, and submit the necessary information to receive the correct disability rating from the VA. Add in the fact that Veterans are now eligible for the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) which allows you to appeal your decision in multiple different claim lanes, and it is easy to see how anyone attempting to appeal a VA decision could be confused. If you are planning on submitting new evidence and want to participate in the RAMP program, you should file through the supplemental claim lane.
What is a Supplemental Claim?
The supplemental claim lane is a way to file your claim through the recently implemented RAMP. When attempting to appeal a VA decision through RAMP, you can select one of two different lanes to appeal. The two lanes are:
- Higher-Level Review – If you select this lane, you are asking the VA to look at all the information you have provided and conduct a new (de novo) review. If you select this lane, you are unable to submit new evidence and are eligible to request an informal conference.
- Supplemental Claim Lane – If you select this lane, you are asking the VA to look over new information you are submitting to see if you qualify for VA compensation. The VA also has a duty to assist Veterans in this lane in gathering evidence in support of their VA disability claim.
It is important that you understand what lane you should file your appeal in. Choosing the wrong lane can have detrimental effects on your disability claim. It may be in your best interest to consult an experienced VA appeals lawyer if you are unsure about how to file an appeal or which appeal lane to select.
How do I Qualify for the Supplemental Claim Lane?
To qualify for an appeal into the supplemental claim lane, you must meet the general requirements needed to participate in RAMP. To be eligible for RAMP, you must have an active claim at one of the following appeals stages:
- NOD (Notice of Disagreement)
- Form 9
- Certified to Board (Not Activated)
You must also offer new and material evidence in support of your claim to qualify for the supplemental claim lane. If you are unable to supply new and material evidence in support of your claim, then you should choose a different appeal option.
How to File a Supplemental Claim
To file a supplemental claim, a Veteran must submit a RAMP opt-in election form and check “Supplemental Claim.” To ensure that your claim retains its effective date, you must opt-in to RAMP within one year of a VA decision. If you fail to file during this timeframe, you will lose your effective date and you will be issued a new effective date that goes into effect the date the supplemental claim was filed.
VA Disability Appeals Attorneys
At Berry Law Firm, we are committed to assisting Veterans fight for the VA benefits they are entitled to. Founded by a Vietnam War Veteran in 1965, our team has been committed to helping Veterans from the beginning. If you or somebody you know has been denied disability compensation, rated too low, or unsuccessful in your appeals, you may be in the most important battle of your life. Contact Berry Law today at (888) 883-2483 to schedule free, confidential case evaluation.