There are 4 steps involved in the disability appeals process

Request for Reconsideration

The first step of the SSDI appeals process is the the Request for Reconsideration. At this stage, your can resubmit your Social Security Disability claim and add new documentation or evidence that you may have missed in your initial claim. All of the information submitted for Reconsideration is reviewed by medical experts who haven't examined you or your records previously. Most appeals at the reconsideration level are denied, upwards of about 90%.

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)

If your reconsideration request is denied, the next step is the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). This is an opportunity to make an in person argument for your claim. You will want to demonstrate that you have a disability under SSA guidelines and also show the ways in which this disability keeps you from being able to work at your previous job, or any other. At this stage, your chances of approval are about 50%.

Appeals Council

Your next option is to go before the Appeals Council. At this level you would need to prove to the Appeals Council that there was an abuse of discretion or that there was considerable factual or procedural error in the ALJ's decision. These tend to be difficult arguments to make on appeal, the Appeals Council will presume that the ALJ's decision was correct unless you convincingly prove to them otherwise.

Federal Court Review

The last stage of a Social Security Disability appeal is to take the case to a Federal District Court if the Appeals Council decision again denies your claim. At this stage you cannot bring in any new evidence to prove that you are disabled or reargue your claim on whether or not you are disabled or eligible for benefits, just that the ALJ was incorrect in making it's determination. In some cases, the Court may reverse the SSA or ALJ's decision but very often the case will be sent back to the SSA for a new determination that should have taken into account certain information but didn't.

An appeal before the Federal Court can have better chances of success than before the Appeals Council, but the cost to file will be high and the process can take a long time.