You need to send in the Form 9 within 60 days of from the SOC, or else your appeal dies. So, yes, you need to file the form 9. I would also request the records.
If you get the records, and notice something missing, then resubmit it. 38 CFR 3.156 B should cover your effective date as you have a "pending" claim, and any evidence you submit goes back to the beginning of the appeal period.
Who? Your VSO? Attorney?
Of course I can not tell you what "someone else" is thinking. My Crystal Ball is on the blink.
If you are referring to an attorney "bailing", yes it is irritating for them for you to delegate them responsiblity by hiring them, and then you send in correspondence to VA without mentioning that to your attorney. None of them like that.
If your attorney does "bail" at an inconvienient time, then yes, you have 3 choices:
1. Get another attorney. Next time try letting him or her handle it.
2. Get a VSO.
3. Represent yourself.
Its true that others may also "balk" at representing you, especially near "zero hour" and if your attorney dropped you for doing stuff behind his back.
If you do have to change representation, then I suggest you do a great job picking the new one, then let them handle it. Ask lots of questions before you sign the POA. Its almost like getting married.
If its any help to you, I was "dropped" from representation by the VFW. They gave a reason that my claim was not likely to succeed. Phooey. My claim did suceed in spite of them dropping me. I probably did what you did, too. Hired them and then did everything myself. I realize I made a mistake.
He informed me that my appeal has been expedited due to my own work he said that I did behind his back. So now he wants to walk away from my appeal. Is that possible I mean I am sorry he's mad that i filed my hardship on my own and got it advanced on the docket didn't think he would bail. So what are my options if he bails do I have to hire a VSO at the last second?