Not every case is won at the hearing level. Social Security judges only grant a little over half of the cases they hear. If you lose a hearing, you can appeal. There are several layers of appeal after the hearing for your social security or SSI disability claim. The next level of appeal is the Appeals Council. They take about 18 months to decide a claim. Then the next appeal is to the Federal District Court. That will take a year or two. Then there is the Federal Circuit court, and potentially even the United States Supreme Court.
Not every lawyer does appeals. Some will represent you at the hearing only. If you lose, they will not represent you on appeal. You will have to find another lawyer. This can be very difficult. Many lawyers do not like to take cases on appeal if they did not do the hearing. You may not be able to find a lawyer to handle you appeal. You will only have 60 days to appeal a denial (plus 5 days for mailing). Its a much better idea to find a lawyer who does both hearings and appeals.
The Law Office of Winona W. Zimberlin handles both hearings and appeals for social security disability and SSI disability cases.