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autumn

To RAMP or legacy appeal?

Question

recently one of my claims was denied and attorney is appealing it. the VA C&P agreed with the claim and attorney mentioned the denial was bogus/bs.  pretty sure that was at the DRO level. 

attorney asked me if i want to RAMP this appeal or legacy appeal.  we already waited almost 3yrs when this denial came in and likely another ~3 years when it is legacy appealed, not  on the RAMP system. my understanding is we don't lose appeal power going with RAMP, is that correct?  attorney isn't getting worse results with RAMP than say the legacy appeal way i'm told.  before i green light RAMP i want to ask, are veterans choosing the RAMP path now & finding it worth it say vs the legacy appeals?

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 To autumn:

Remember, there is a difference between a claim denied and an appeal. A claim denied remains viable for appeal for a year. An appeal is anything you file a NOD on. Once you file the NOD, you have completed the first step of what we call the "substantive appeal" to the BVA. After issuance of a SOC, you have 60 days to take the second step by completing the substantive appeal by the filing of the VA 9. Yes, a rebuttal filing to the SOC will delay the suspense date of 60 days by giving you 30 days from the receipt of a SSOC in which to file the VA 9. The important thing for all to remember is that you can have a claim denied this morning and then put it into the rocket docket to the BVA after the 19th. If it's a CUE, you would gain nothing by having a Supplemental review as you are prohibited from introducing new evidence. Likewise, a HLR, which is no more than a DRO review camouflaged  in a new dress, is a dead end as well. I've won two DRO reviews- the Phoenix folks caved in and CUE'd themselves 9 times on a Vietnam Parkinson's disease denial and the second was the CAVC ordering the VA to pay me SMC back to 1994 in 2016. That's mighty slim pickings. I hear from all my fellow VA litigators that the RAMP at the local level is a chimera. Approximately one in five is getting a favorable outcome. 

CUE claims are excellent candidates for this process. First, you cannot add any new evidence. Second, VA invariably denies all CUEs anyway. Lastly, who wants to take a CUE through the 6-year system to the BVA? When you file a CUE, you are calling VA idiots out for screwing it up. You cannot add evidence so it's a brilliant way to unclog the system. VARO raters use the M 21 and it will almost always yield a denial. The BVA, on the other hand, is a Veterans Law Judge (VLJ) with real legal training. They can ascertain the truth in an unbiased decision. It used to be that VLJs pretty much toed the line and acquiesced to the VASEC and the OGC precedents. This is no longer true. With new precedence coming down from the CAVC or the CAFC almost daily, our legal chances of success in a true courtroom before a real law judge have increased 100-fold since the era of the 60s when the BVA came into existence.

In my 30 years doing this, I have found one truth. Many of us look at our claims from our own point of view. This tainted view prevents us from considering whether it's actionable. I always take the devil's advocate stance and try to defeat my client's claim with logic and reasoned argument. If I can, then I won't take it. If it's plausible, I will always be tempted to fight it. Unlike some VA litigators, I keep my caseload down to a dull roar. I will never become a VSO with 250 Vets. 60-80 is more my idea of a manageable number. Besides, I like talking to my clients and sharing their highs and lows. With that number, when a real CUE barnburner shows up, I usually take it. RAMPing up to the BVA is the cat's pajamas in this situation. Why wait in VARO purgatory for years? 

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Good points sir.  Especially how we as human get so wrapped up in our cases we fail to understand that our view is not the VA's view.

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From my experience in the legacy appeals it looks like the BVA is prioritizing RAMP over legacy. So if you go legacy it's going to take longer than usual.

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Everything I have read so far tells me that everyone should get as far away from the RAMP process as they can.  It is nothing more than quick denial and if the new rules are correct it screws you over on back pay.  

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Please elaborate on the rules where you state back pay is lost by doing RAMP.

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