If you apply for Social Security disability benefits, the likelihood that your claim goes through unabated and without a hitch is not very high. It's an unfortunate reality, but the reality none the less. So, if (and likely when) your claim is denied, you need to know how to deal with that situation. Don't let it defeat you because there are many ways for you to proceed down the appellate path.
The first step you can take after a claim is denied is to appeal for reconsideration. As you can likely tell, this is a simple step. Your original claim will simply be reconsidered by an official at the Social Security Administration. Make sure you are compliant with the rules for appealing your case. Respond in a timely manner and provide all of the information and materials that are necessary. If you have new evidence since your original claim, then you should include that in your reconsideration appeal.
Should this step fail, you can move your claim up the appeal ladder to an Administrative Law Judge Hearing (ALJ). This proceeds like a court case, where you and witnesses will be questioned by a judge to determine the veracity of your claim.
Should your ALJ Hearing end unsuccessfully, you can move your claim up to an Appeals Council Review. The council may not take your case, but if it does, it could decide the matter itself or send it back to an ALJ Hearing.
Last but not least, you could appeal your case all the way to a federal court.
Source: FindLaw, "Basics of Social Security Disability Appeals," Accessed Feb. 1, 2016