You apply: (1) in person - at your local Field Office; (2) online; or (3) by telephone. Hurry up and wait . . .
Rarely, they agree that you are disabled.
Usually, they say you are not disabled. You have 60 days to appeal (and Request Reconsideration).
You appeal and tell them that you are disabled. Hurry up and wait . . .
Even more rarely than at the first denial, they agree with you.
The more likely scenario is that you get denied again. You have 60 days to appeal and ask for a Hearing before an ALJ (Administrative Law Judge). Hurry up and wait . . .
You present your reasons why you cannot work before the ALJ. A vocational expert (VE) gives opinions about your past work and whether there are other jobs in the economy that you could perform. Hurry up and wait for a Decision . . .
Fully Favorable Decision: You win and get everything you wanted.
Partially Favorable Decision: You get part of what you asked for.
Unfavorable Decision (Denial): Your claim is denied. You can appeal to the Appeals Council if you disagree with the Decision. The Appeals Council may deny the appeal or send it back to the same ALJ for another hearing. If they deny it, your only option is to file a lawsuit with the United States District Court (again within 60 days). This Court will only look at the errors, if any, made by the ALJ.