A Statement of the Case (SOC) is a document that explains the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) decision regarding your disability benefits case. The SOC, which you receive after you file a Notice of Disagreement, gives you information about your denial or partial denial of veterans disability benefits.
At Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, we know how to use the information provided in an SOC to your advantage. By directly addressing the reasons for denial provided in the SOC, we will have a much better chance at winning your appeal and getting you the benefits you need and deserve.
What does an SOC contain?
Once you have filed your Notice of Disagreement (NOD) informing the VA that you disagree with its rating decision, the VA will re-evaluate your claim to determine if any errors were made during the initial decision making process. If errors were made and a new decision is warranted, you will receive a new rating decision or a Decision Review Officer Decision (DROD).
You will receive a DROD if on your NOD you select a DRO review of your appeal. If the DRO finds the VA made no errors during the original claims review process, you will receive an SOC explaining the reasoning behind the VA’s decision. An SOC will generally include the following information:
- List of evidence: The VA will provide you with a list of all the evidence it used to make the decision including (but not limited to) medical records, service records, lay statements, and if applicable, employment history.
- Regulations and laws related to the decision: The VA will summarize the various statutes and regulations that impacted its decision.
- The actual decision: The VA will clearly state the decision and address all issues of the claim separately.
- Reasons for the decision: The VA will discuss how the evidence listed supports its decision in a way in which the claimant can understand. The SOC is supposed to address any contentions made by the claimant in his or her NOD.
When will the VA send an SOC?
This often depends on the VA’s backlog at the time you appeal. Unfortunately, the VA can take several months, and sometimes even years, to issue your SOC.
If you disagree with the SOC, you have 60 days from the date of VA’s notification letter to file an appeal to the Board of Veteran’s Appeals. You must use the VA 9 appeal that is included with the SOC to file your appeal to the Board.
If you fail to submit your VA Form 9 within the 60-day appeal window, your appeal will be closed. We will make sure to act as quickly as possible after receiving your SOC to prevent any further delay.
What is the difference between an SOC and an SSOC?
An SOC is the document you receive in response to your Notice of Disagreement with the VA’s original rating decision. A Supplemental Statement of the Case (SSOC) is the document receive if you submitted any new evidence with your VA Form 9. For example, say you received an SOC explaining why the VA denied you a rating higher than 30-percent. You file your VA Form 9 and submit additional evidence showing why your service-connected disability warrants a rating higher than 30-percent. Despite this additional evidence if the VA continues to deny an increased rating, they would issue an SSOC.
How can we help?
The SOC can be your ticket to building the most substantive appeal possible, thereby giving you the best chance at a favorable decision. However, the SOC can be difficult to understand with hyper technical legalese.
To prepare an effective appeal that addresses all the issues in the decision, we will need to look closely at these explanations and statutes to make sure we do not miss any crucial details. For example, the VA denies many claims based on mistakes relating to the claimant’s medical history or missing information regarding your condition. Our attorneys can bring these crucial errors to the attention of the VA in a legal argument showcasing all the evidence of record the VA failed to consider in its decision.
At Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, our veterans’ advocates understand that your claim denial may come as a huge surprise. You served your country with honor and sometimes with great sacrifice. Now, you are back home fighting again; this time though, it is for your service-connected disability benefits. Our advocates will not let you fight this battle alone.
Call 401-331-6300 to find out more.