Intro

Welcome to our Big News section for all the latest news concerning Military Disability.

We'll do our best to keep you up to date on everything that could affect your disability. Since the majority of our news will cover legal issues that can be dragged out for a long time, if you'd like an update on an issue, let us know, and we'll do what we can.

Please feel free to comment and submit questions. We want to give you the information you need, so help us by letting us know what you want to know.

This page is strictly for the latest and upcoming news. If you are looking for specific information about the disability system or your disability, see our Military Disability Blog: Advice From the Big Guy or our website, www.MilitaryDisabilityMadeEasy.com, for all the answers you'll need.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Official RAMP Update

Rumors have been going around regarding the VA opening up the Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) to all veterans with appeal claims pending. 

Currently, veterans can only opt into RAMP if they receive an invitation in the mail. And this is still the case. However, the VA did officially announced last Friday that they were going to be opening up the program to all veterans with pending appeals, but they did not specify when or how this change will occur.

Our source at the VA tells us that they are working to implement this change, but so far no information is available about when veterans may opt into RAMP without receiving an invitation. 

RAMP is designed to speed up the appeals process, and while not as many veterans have been taking advantage of it as expected, it seems to be successful so far. Over 12,000 veterans have already opted to take advantage of the program, with reviews taking an average of 52 days to complete. 

Veterans filing new appeals should continue to submit them using the current appeals process. Veterans who have already submitted an appeal may still receive a RAMP invitation and may opt in before the process is opened up. We will continue to follow this issue and as soon as the VA removes the invitation-only requirement, we will let you know. 

In another step aimed at improving the claims process, the Board of Veterans Appeals will begin a pilot program, Early Applicability of Appeals Modernization (BEAAM). Working with several veterans’ organizations, the Board will select 50 veterans who are unhappy with their recent claims decisions. These veterans will be enrolled in a study which will give them a choice between a direct appeal to the Board or a RAMP review of their claim. The information gained about the veterans’ experiences will help the VA fine tune the claims process. 

25 comments:

  1. Dr. Johnson; how can I find out more info on the BEAAM pilot program? I've had a claim in since 2013 and I'm on my 2nd appeal to that claim so needless to say I'm totally fed up and disgusted with the VA and their claim/appeal process. I've received an invitation from the VA to participate in the RAMP program but I'm not sure if I'll select to go that route.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There really isn't additional information about BEAAM. It is by invite-only and is really just the RAMP program where they more closely monitor the vet. Anyone chosen for BEAAM would have to apply for RAMP.

      Delete
  2. My husband did RAMP. He got 80%, but 100% PT, UI, backpay given up, told he can't appeal, or might lose rating. Sleep Apnea, SC to PTSD was 30%, removed. Just had sleep study, is on bi pap and has serious heart and brain blood flow due to VA Dr.cutting oxygen levels, 1 yr ago, bad test at VA, has been on bi pap 7 yrs.prior. removal caused damage. Should he appeal?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jane -

      It's hard to say without knowing a few more details. What was he given a rating for? Why did they say they removed the sleep apnea? It isn't standard practice for them to remove ratings if the condition is already considered service-connected. What did they give as their reason for removing it?

      Delete
  3. I had bilateral ankle stublar fusion with non union, corrected bilateral triple ankle fusion with screws. Then had screws removed in one ankle, received 10% rating for one ankle and service connected but zero rating. Appealed in Feb 2016 but last month opt in the ramp program . My claim was in the pittsburgh pa office but now it's been moved to the Seattle office. Is this normal procedures? I am confused about my rating as well, thank you for any insight on this matter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no "normal procedure" yet in regards to RAMP. They maybe moved it because there were fewer cases in Seattle?

      As for the rating, since you had a fusion and not a replacement, the condition is only rated on any limited motion, which there should be. Without knowing your exact range of motion measurements, I can't say what they should be rated, but if your measurements qualify for a higher rating, then your appeal should be successful.

      http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/theankle.html#joint

      Delete
  4. Thanks
    Dorsiflexion (0-20): 0 to 8 degrees
    Plantar Flexion (0-45): 0 to 25 degrees
    The other ankle i just had surgery so she didn't exam. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is fairly limited range of motion. Since ankles are rated on "marked" or "moderate" limitations, it's hard to predict how the VA will interpret the ratings. If this also seriously affects your ability to walk or regularly use the foot, then I'd say it could be considered "marked" and qualify for the 20% rating. If you have fairly good function still, then possibly just the 10% rating.

      Delete
  5. Military Doctors and the "Standard Procedure of care" they claim they must follow ruined my career. Pushers of pills and profiles. the way I see it is that many Military Doctors grow up to be VA doctors and Evaluators... and the vet gets it at both ends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Standard Procedure of care" as I was explained to me was... step 1, step 2, step 3, etc. etc. It took me 4 yrs to get passed step 1 because "all" follow ups are/were with a different doctors that always wanted to try something new but yet remain at step 1.

      Delete
  6. I will not imply that anything provided on this website is incorrect as too how a certain percentage is reached for any condition, but the VA's inconsistent actions makes it seem incorrect. I am a 50 yr old male that was given 10% for flat feet. I wake up 1 to 3 times a night because my feet cramp up and the pain is so bad that the only way to get it too stop is to stand up and apply downward pressure. this degrades my sleep on a daily basis. yet another vet that is 25 yrs old and only flat feet with no other symptom(s) is given 50%. this tells me that either the other vet is lying about a percentage or the VA doesn't really follow a guide of "codes" and just gives what they feel is warranted. when I went to be evaluated the doctor told me "I dont determine percentages or if a disability is granted. someone else does that from reading what I write."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely something going on here.

      We are not affiliated with the VA at all, and so provide an outside perspective on the rules and regulations that the VA is supposed to follow. Unfortunately, some of it is up to interpretation, though much of it is not.

      The flat foot ratings is one that is not up to much interpretation. The only way for flat foot to qualify for a 50% rating is for there to be continuous, serious pain and tenderness in the foot, deformity, you can only walk on the inside of the foot due to pain, and the Achilles tendon spasms when touched. If the vet doesn't have all these symptoms, then he shouldn't qualify for a 50%.

      The VA is more guilty of giving less than deserved than more, so I highly doubt he received that if he didn't have these symptoms or unless he deceived his physicians, which is unfortunate, but does happen on occasion.

      As for your rating, a 10% is correct unless you have an obvious deformity (pronation/abduction), with continuous pain and swelling. Only with these symptoms can you get to a 20% or higher.

      http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/thefoot.html#flat

      Your doctor was correct that he doesn't make the ultimate rating decision. All of your records are reviewed by a trained rating authority who makes the decisions based on the evidence. That is why submitting as much evidence as possible is essential.

      http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/vadisabilityprocess.html

      Delete
  7. Sorry for delayed replies. Google has a bug that is not sending notifications, so hopefully you'll check back and see these comments. We'll patrol our blogs more diligently in the future and try to respond in a timely manner. Sorry for the major inconvenience.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am currently rated at 90% with IU and being paid at the 100% rate. I am rated 70% for PTSD, 50% for sleep apnea, 20% for lumbosacral strain, 10% for tinnitus, 10% for gerd, 10% for scars, 10% for residuals and 0% for chronic migraines. The migraines have been an ongoing issue since 2007. I average at least 2 month, I was taking motrin and excedrin migraine. I am currently taking sumatriptan. Should I appeal the decision or just letting a sleeping dog lie?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi James -

      Since you are being paid at the maximum and the migraines are being covered (although not compensated) at the 0% level, you are receiving the maximum for your disabilities. You can try to appeal the migraines, but with only needing to take Motrin and Excedrin to treat them, the VA may not consider them prostrating anyway.

      Delete
  9. Am I to understand that when appeal is approved under RAMP you forfeit back pay?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RAMP is the same appeal as before, just processed differently, so no, you should not be forfeiting back pay if you do actually qualify under the Back Pay rules:

      http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/vadisabilitybackpay.html

      Delete
  10. VA received my RAMP application on March 30, 2018. On this date, August 17, 2018, I contacted VA national call center and they advised that records show the processing of my RAMP appeal has NOT started. Since approx. 6 months have gone by, I thought this to be interesting since blog states average resolution time of 52 days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's very unfortunate to hear. I think we were all hoping that the processing times would stay good with this new system. For many they have, but it sounds like even RAMP is now getting delayed for many.

      Delete
    2. Same here, I’ve sent my RAMP in on MAY 17th and I still haven’t got a word, just a estimated time frame of Sept 5th to December 3rd. They also sent my claim off to a third party in Seattle for them to review.

      Delete
    3. How/where did you get the info? "sent off to third party" and "esstimated time frame". I have been unable to get any answers. Don't know where it is. Don't have any estimated time frame, and 6 months have gone by.

      Delete
    4. I check VET.GOV and Ebenefits. When you sign on it will show you the status of your claim. For the part where I found out where my claim was sent too was from my DAV representative. I called the DAV rep and she gave me an answer on where it was sent.

      Delete
  11. Friend received RAMP invitation, opted in on 3/30/2018. Today is 9/19/2018 and nothing, which makes it Day 173. So much for their "120 day" goal. Must have moved the goal line and didn't tell anyone!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I sent my claim in through RAMP in July 30th. On Ebenefits when I access my claims it is showing claim complete , but it is not giving any claim information. Has anyone experienced this?

    ReplyDelete