If the judge denies your claim, you will have lost at the initial level, at the reconsideration level, which is the first appeals level after the initial determination, and you will have lost in front of the judge. The next level is a review by the Appeals Council. It takes approximately two years, is based on documentation being submitted by you and/or your attorney, and it involves a review of the transcript of the hearing. The Appeals Council will determine whether or not the judge has followed the applicable rules and made a decision in accordance with the applicable rules.
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