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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP)

Question

What is RAMP?

  • Launched in November 2017, the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) provides Veterans the opportunity to use the new review process in the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017. The Act, otherwise known as the Appeals Modernization Act, was signed into law on Aug. 23, 2017.
  • RAMP aims to provide eligible Veterans with resolution to their appealed claims as early as possible. 
  • RAMP will run through February 2019. At that point, The Appeals Modernization Act will be fully implemented.
  • VA will process RAMP elections as long as necessary to resolve legacy appeals.
How does RAMP work with VA’s Appeals Modernization Plan?
  • The Appeals Modernization Act established a new review process for VA claims. This process is fast, transparent, and fair. It allows for improved benefits and services to you and your family. 
  • Through RAMP, you can receive a review of your claim decision much faster. You will have the option to use the “Higher-Level Review” or “Supplemental Claim” lane outlined in the new law. 
Which Review Lane is Right for You?
Supplemental Claim Lane
  • Select this option if you have additional evidence to present. The evidence should be new and relevant to your claim. We aim to complete these claims in an average of 125 days. 
  • We will help you gather evidence to support your claim.
  • We will review any new and relevant evidence since your claim decision. 
  • If you still disagree with your decision, you can submit another supplemental claim with new evidence, or you can request review in the Higher-level Review Lane. An election for further review must be made within one year of the date of your decision. 
  • We aim to complete these claims in an average of 125 days.
Higher-Level Review Lane
  • Select this option if you have no additional evidence, but believe there was an error in your initial decision. We aim to complete these claims in an average of 125 days.
  • A higher-level review consists of an entirely new review of your claim, by a more senior claims adjudicator. 
  • The reviewer will only consider evidence that VA has at the time you opt-in. You will not be able to add new evidence during this process. Your representative will also not be able to add new evidence. 
  • We cannot assist you in developing additional evidence. If the reviewer discovers an error in the prior decision, your claim will return to initial decision makers to correct the error. 
  • You can request a one-time phone call with the reviewer to identify specific errors in your case. Your representative can also request this call. However, this call may cause some delay in processing. 
  • If you still disagree with your decision, and have additional evidence that you would like to submit, you can use the Supplemental Claim Lane after you receive a decision in the Higher-level Review Lane. An election for further review must be made within one year of the date of your decision. However, you will not have immediate access to the Higher-level Review after receiving a decision in this lane. 
Who is eligible for RAMP?
As of April 2018, any Veteran with a pending disability compensation appeal in the stages listed below can opt into RAMP. Complete the opt-in form online on the Appeals Modernization webpage, or turn in a paper form. 

You are eligible if you have a pending disability compensation appeal in one of the following legacy appeal stages: 

  • Notice of Disagreement (NOD)
  • Form 9, Appeal to Board of Veterans’ Appeals
  • Certified to the Board, but not yet activated for a Board decision
  • Remand from the board to VBA
Advantages of RAMP
  • Early participation in the new review process
  • Potentially faster decisions and earlier resolutions
  • Multiple review options
    • Supplemental Claim Lane
    • Higher-level Review Lane
    • Appeal to the Board after October 2018
  • The same potential effective date for benefits, regardless of review option
  • The option to ask for a quick look at a VA decision by a more senior claims reviewer
  • A new requirement for clear and convincing evidence to change any findings favorable to Veterans in a VA decision

If you have questions about RAMP, talk with your VSO about whether RAMP is right for you.

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broncovet the way I read it is that after 19 Feb 2019 we don't have a choice to either opt in or not. We will only have two routes to go  Supplemental Lane or Higher Level lane. I will be challenging the effective dates on two items, a denial of one item, and rating percentage on two other items. I also will be submitting  a couple of supplemental claims for Neuropathy/radiculopathy in my arms and legs due to the issues in my neck and lower back. I am definitely unsure if I have to submit those supplemental claims separately or all together with my NODs.

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On ‎2‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 8:56 PM, broncovet said:

There are changes to the regulations on effective dates, that Vets should be aware of.  They are available here:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/38/5110

In particular, this regulation specifies "supplemental claim lane", and, remarkably absent is "HLR", for reasons which are unclear.  

Also, gone is "new and MATERIAL evidence" which is replaced by new and RELEVANT evidence.  In this, its unclear if 38 CFR 3.156 b and 38 cfr 3.156 c still applies.  

SUPER IMPORTANT:  It appears there is a limit to retro as follows:

 

The statment, above would appear to limit the retro for New and material (now called new and relevant) evidence is limited to just 0ne year, at least that is how I read it, above.  This is HUGE.  For that reason, if the Veteran submits new evidence and wants to reopen, I COULD NOT RECOMMEND RAMP UNLESS the pontential retro was less than a year.  More often than not, its over a year.  However, under the "old" 38 cfr 3.156 b or c, the retro had no "one year limit", so its unclear which regulation would apply..the old new and material evidence, or this new ramp relevant evidence.  In theory, the regulation most favorable to the Veteran should apply BUT I would like to see the outcome of Kizor vs Wilikie to be sure.  

     As some know, the US Supreme Court has taken up a Veterans case, Mr. Kizor, and the issue boils down to the Auer (aka Cheveron deference) vs the Benefit of the doubt.  Should the VEteran prevail in overturning the Auer defense, giving some teeth to the "benefit of the doubt" doctrine, I can see this being a major deal for Vets.  If the supreme court fails to overturn Auer, then stuff should remain pretty much as it is, where the VA is able to interpret regulations in any matter they choose, whether or not it favors the VEteran.  Of course, Im sure most veterans will be "suprised" to find VA does not really give the VEteran the benefit of the doubt currently, nor is there any "real" such thing as a "claimant friendly non adversarial process".  

This appears to be very, very important info in my humbled opinion and I thank you for it.   So far from what I have read RAMP appears to be avoided at all costs.  It just does not appear to benefit the veteran IMO and is nothing more than a quick denial.

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I agree with Galen.  However, Alex indicated that is not the case.  I guess we will see in about a week...

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