The appeals process can take a long time. There are four stages in appealing a denied disability claim, but if you are successful at any of them, the process stops. The first step, request for reconsideration, can take up to a year if the SSA requires you to get more medical consultation and exams. The average amount of time needed to process a hearing with an administrative law judge, the next step, was 514 days in 2008. The Appeals Council Review and filing a suit in federal court can take a lot of time to process and resolve depending on the circumstances of your case.