If you have already had a hearing with an administrative law judge and the judge denied your disability claim, then you can file a request for review of the decision to the Social Security Administration Appeals Council (“AC”). You have 60 days from the date of the judge’s denial letter to file the appeal with the AC. If you do not appeal within 60 days, then the judge’s decision will become final.
The Appeals Council will be looking for legal errors the judge might have made when issuing his decision. If the AC agrees with you that the judge made an error, it will remand the case to a judge (oftentimes the same one as before) for another hearing. On the other hand, if the AC does not think the judge made a legal error, it will deny your case. The only other thing that you can do at that point is file a civil action in the U.S. District Court closest to where you live.
You have 60 days from the date of the AC denial to file your appeal with the Federal District Court. If you do not appeal within 60 days, the AC denial becomes final.
It is important to understand that if you file a new application after a denial becomes final, the earliest date that SSA could find you disabled is the day after the date the judge denied you.