First and foremost, you must make sure that you receive a case number from the Office of the Whistleblower after you submit your information to that office. Notably, the fact that you receive this acknowledgment does not mean the SEC staff will forward that information to the Enforcement Division. It may instead close out the “tip” with a disposition of no further action.
It is also important to understand that you are not guaranteed an Award even if your tip leads the SEC to open a Matter Under Inquiry (“MUT”) that actually proceeds to a formal investigation that thereafter leads to a “covered action.” In other words, unbeknownst to you, your tip might relate to an MUT that was opened before you made your submission.
The SEC’s Claim Review Staff will determine whether or not your claim qualifies both in terms of timing (above) and in terms of merit. Not every claim, even if it leads to a covered action, satisfies the standards set forth by the Dodd-Frank Act. You can challenge a denial, or an inadequate award, through what is called a “Whistleblower Award Proceeding.” A ruling from last month’s proceeding can be found here. So, if it isn’t obvious by now, you should contact experienced legal counsel before you attempt to proceed with an SEC Whistleblower claim. You now know of at least one such law firm.