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VA launches program to resolve compensation appeals sooner

Veterans to see options in claims disagreements, faster processing times

Veterans and their family members will have more options for how their compensation appeals will be processed. On Nov. 1, VA launched the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program, or RAMP, with the goal of providing eligible Veterans with the earliest possible resolution of their disagreement with VA.

The Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017, or Appeals Modernization Act not only provides VA with the framework to modernize the current appeals process, it also authorized VA to create RAMP.

VA’s complex legacy process was adopted after World War I. The act allows VA to clear one of the largest hurdles in our continuous efforts to improve the delivery of benefits and services to Veterans and their families.

RAMP is voluntary and will first be offered to claimants with some of the oldest pending appeals in VA’s inventory. RAMP participants will have the chance to enter the new, more efficient appeals process, outlined in the historic appeals legislation recently signed into law by the president. Over the next several months, VA will send out notices to Veterans eligible to participate in RAMP.

If you receive notice and would like to participate in RAMP, here are a few things to consider:

  • If you DO NOT want to participate in RAMP, you can do nothing and VA will continue to process your appeal in the current (legacy) process.
  • If you decide to participate in RAMP, simply complete and return the election form found in the notice. Please note, you WILL NOT have the option to go back to the legacy appeals process.
  • You can expect faster resolution than if you remain in the legacy appeals process.
  • You must choose ONE of the two, new processing “lanes” – Higher-Level Review or Supplemental Claim Lane – if you decide to participate in RAMP.

What you need to know about the types of reviews offered in RAMP:

  • Higher-Level Review
    • A reviewer will conduct a de novo, or “new,” review of the previous decision based on the evidence of record.
    • Reviewers can overturn previous decisions.
    • You may not submit new evidence.
    • An informal conference is available. However, requesting an informal conference may cause some delay in the processing of a higher-level review.
  • Supplemental Claim Lane
    • You may submit new evidence to support your claim.
    • VA will help you develop evidence in support of your claim.

RAMP will run through the implementation of the Appeals Modernization Act.

To learn more about the new appeals process, visit https://www.benefits.va.gov/benefits/appeals.asp

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