VA, in collaboration with Veterans Service Organizations, Congress and Veterans, has worked tirelessly for years to reform the broken legacy appeals process. On Aug. 23, 2017, the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 was signed into law and finally, after 18 months of hard work, the full implementation of the new law is on the horizon.
The Appeals Modernization Act goes into effect on Feb. 19 and VA will sunset the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) ahead of full implementation. VA will not accept RAMP elections after Feb. 15.
However, a Veteran whose appeal is currently in the legacy process is encouraged to opt in to RAMP before Feb. 15 to take full advantage of the benefits of the new process. Currently, decisions in the legacy process average three to seven years. VA has set a goal of providing decisions in RAMP in an average of 125 days. Veterans who have a legacy appeal after Feb. 15 will be able to opt in to the process when they receive a Statement of the Case or a Supplemental Statement of the Case after the new law is effective on Feb. 19.
Veterans who participate in RAMP can choose to have their VA decision reviewed in either the Supplemental Claim or Higher-Level Review lanes that were created under the new law. In the Higher-Level Review lane, a more senior VA decision maker will conduct a new look at the previous decision based on the evidence previously considered. Participants who select the Supplemental Claim lane may submit new and relevant evidence, and VA will assist in developing new evidence under its duty to assist.
VA is pleased to offer Veterans greater choice in how they resolve a disagreement with a VA decision, and is continually striving to provide excellent customer service.