A Supplemental Statement of the Case (SSOC) is a document sent to you by your VA regional office that represents a revision or update to the Statement of the Case (SOC). It is important to understand that the SSOC and SOC are VA adjudication documents only applicable in the older VA legacy appeals system. The legacy appeals system applies to decisions rendered before February 2019. The SSOC means the VA reviewers are still not satisfied with the additional evidence or details you provided in your disability benefits appeal after the Statement of the Case. Essentially, for those who have appealed the SOC by filing a VA Form 9 and the VA continues to refuse their claim after the submission of additional evidence, they will get a Supplemental Statement of the Case (SSOC).
The SSOC outlines the reason(s) for the VA's decision to continue to deny your appeal despite the new evidence or facts you provided. If you disagree with the VA's judgment, you, your agent, or your attorney can offer further evidence. When you receive an SSOC, you have 30 days to respond. If you submit additional evidence or argument in response to an SSOC, VA is required to re-evaluate the matter. Theoretically, the VA could be persuaded by your new evidence and then issue a favorable rating decision. But this is rare. Usually, the VA will continue to deny the claim by sending an SSOC.
What Are the Benefits?
There are different types of Veterans, including those who have served during wartime and those who have served during peacetime. All Veterans who are injured or develop an illness or ailment linked to their active service are eligible for benefits, including healthcare and financial assistance.
The most common way is to file online using the VA's eBenefits portal. Veterans can also file by mail or in person at a regional office or local VA hospital.
The benefits that Veterans may be eligible for include healthcare, education, housing, and financial assistance. Healthcare includes both medical and dental care. Education benefits include tuition assistance and the GI Bill. Housing benefits include help with rent, mortgage payments, and home repairs. Financial assistance includes disability compensation and pension payments.
However, many Veterans who apply for benefits get denied or receive less than they are entitled to. Filing an appeal under the legacy system means filing a Notice of Disagreement or NOD within 1 year. The VA will attempt to resolve the disagreement by either issuing a new favorable rating decision or continuing the denial by issuing a Statement of the Case or SOC. Then, if additional evidence is submitted thereafter, but before the case is certified to the Board, the VA will issue an SSOC, explaining why the new claim has been denied (in part or in full).
What Is the Difference Between a SOC and a SSOC?
If the VA continues to refuse your claim in a legacy case after a Notice of Disagreement is filed, a SOC is issued in response to a Notice of Disagreement. The SOC explains the VA's refusal in greater detail. To continue your appeal, you can file a VA Form 9 and attach any additional evidence after receiving the SOC.
The VA will reevaluate its decision using this new information. When it decides to reject part of your appeal, an SSOC will be sent to explain its reasoning.
Can I Appeal an SSOC More Than Once?
You can continue to challenge VA rulings forever if you file your appeals on time. You should, however, continue to file appeals if you have sufficient information to back up your claim. To save time, it is critical to establish your claim as solid as possible the first time around. In general, it is best to let a case go to the Board, especially if you have good evidence and a strong case.
The attorneys at Veterans Disability Info can help you obtain the evidence you need and develop a strong case to offer you the best chance of a positive outcome.
SSOCs and the BVA
You only have 30 days to respond to the SSOC, so acting fast in this situation is preferable.
When I Receive an SSOC, Do I Need To Contact Legal Counsel Immediately?
In the appeals process, the VA lets you represent yourself. Having an attorney on your side, on the other hand, has several advantages. The VA has already refused your claim at least twice by the time you obtain an SSOC. A skilled, experienced attorney may be your best bet considering the past denials--to prepare the strongest legal argument possible on your behalf. So, it is best to contact an attorney immediately if you receive an SSOC.