As someone who has applied for disability benefits and been denied, you're in a difficult position and long waiting game. With the current government shutdown, you are fortunate that your paperwork is already processed since you can appeal and have your appeal heard. If you hadn't yet applied, you'd have to wait for the government to reopen.
When you apply for Social Security Disability (SSD), there is always the chance of being rejected the first time. This is fairly common, in reality, and it's something that isn't always preventable. If you have been denied, you need to plan well for your appeal.
Appeals take many months and sometimes over a year before they can be heard, so you want to make sure you include all the necessary information with your appeal. There are four appeal levels including reconsideration, a hearing, an Appeals Court Review and the Federal Court Review. You want to aim to have your appeal heard and overturned at the lowest possible appeal level so that you can get the benefits you need as soon as possible.
If you have a hearing instead of a reconsideration, which is a possibility, remember that you can bring witnesses to the hearing to speak on your behalf. These witnesses can include medical providers, your attorney, friends and family.
When appealing disability benefits, it's advisable to work with an attorney so that you don't make the same mistakes time and time again. If you do, then you could find your application rejected multiple times, eventually having to start the process over from the beginning.