Posted on 16 Jan, 2019
The Veteran community has been all a buzz about RAMP. Many Veteran’s viewed this new program as the resolution to their claims that had been mired down in the purgatory that the VA appeals process has become viewed to be. In many ways RAMP has accomplished what the VA needed it to in clearing a significant backlog of claims that were in what is now known as the legacy appeals process. If you have been watching the progression, the VA has seen a reduction of 47,000 cases in the appeals inventory. This means that the VA has in some way, shape, or form adjudicated an additional 47,000 cases and outpaced new appeals. We would have to do some serious digging to find the last time that the VA adjudicated more cases than it received. Of even more significant note is that the BVA had an increase of 31,000 decisions over last year. By the pure numbers game RAMP has been a huge success for the VA, but if you look at the rate of appeals being successful it is much less successful for the Veterans that have participated. As reported by the VA last fall RAMP is seeing a granting of benefits for Veterans at 28%. That is basically a one in four shot at an appeal being favorably resolved. I do not like those odds.
We have had our own experiences with RAMP that have not been favorable as well. Case in point, we had an informal conference with a DRO (Decision Review Officer) and walked away with the understanding that we would receive a favorable decision for an earlier effective date…WRONG! In what was thought to be an overwhelming success for the case, we found ourselves staring at everyone’s least favorite six letters: DENIED. Instances such as this are why we continue our appeals within the legacy appeals process. It may not be as quick to get a decision, but at least we know what we are up against and can be on the offensive with our strategy as we know the obstacles that we will have to overcome. This is the last month for decisions to be issued and the Veteran afforded the opportunity to choose the appeals process to pursue. We will continue to advise our clients to continue in the legacy appeals process, but all decisions issued after February 1, 2019 will automatically be part of RAMP.
If you have questions about what the best option for you is, then I encourage you to reach out to us and ask your questions. Best to be informed in your decision making than make an election that you will not have a way back from and potentially regret.