The Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP), was announced on 2 November, 2017. Its goal is to provide “Veterans with the earliest possible resolution of their disagreement with VA’s decision on their benefit claims.” This comes after President Trump signed the “Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017” in August. While it often takes around six years to resolve a dispute regarding a disability claim, the VA is hopeful that this new appeal process will shorten that number. As of the spring of 2017, there are currently over 470,000 veterans waiting on these appeals to go through.
Some facts regarding disability:
- The average claim generally takes just under 118 days to complete (before any disputes arise)
- The VA spends $63.7 billion a year to veterans who claim disability
- The VA is currently paying for over 4 million veterans with service connected disabilities
- 10% disabled gets you approximately $133.57 a month; 100% with no dependents would get you $2,915.55 a month. Check out the rates of service connected disability here
- In more severe instances, the veteran may be eligible for more than 100% disability
What does this have to do with RAMP? RAMP will essentially serve as the doorway to the “Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017.” It is an alternative to the legacy appeals process we’ve been dealing with in the past, and whoever decides to go with RAMP will be forfeiting the old way.
What’s it mean to appeal your claim? If you don’t like the benefits they gave you, then you fight to get more. Through RAMP, you’ve got two primary methods (known as lanes) of appealing your claims:
- The Higher-Level Review Lane: RAMP allows veterans to go directly to higher echelons of the VA to appeal their claim, where they might disagree with the decision made by someone else. That’s where your claim could get changed. For example, if someone’s PTSD doesn’t seem to qualify them for an actual rating, but the veteran disagrees–he might be able to appeal to a higher authority who is on his side.
- The Supplemental Claim Lane: this basically lets veterans bring new evidence to light in support of their claim. For example, TBIs are a relatively new science. If medical technology makes it possible to prove that you had a TBI back from Vietnam, that would be something you could bring to their attention.
Finally, if you still disagree with the changes made (or lack thereof), you can head to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. This board only comes into effect in February 2019, so you’ll have to wait until then at the very least–but considering the old process can take over five years, it might not be a bad choice.
According to the VA:
VA will continue working with Congress, Veterans Service Organizations and other Veteran advocates to implement the new appeals process over the next several months as VA continues to make bold, positive change on behalf of Veterans, their families and survivors.”
Featured image courtesy of AP Images