T, you have your original denial, then Reconsideration, if turned down on the Recon, that is when you can ask for a hearing before an ALJ.
The attys I worked for 18 yrs did SS claims on their existing clients only. What we found the most was SS did not have current medical records or partial records. The atty was allowed to look at SS' file one week prior to the hearing and always medical info was missing. It gave us barely enough time to obtain the records. The atty always took the records to the hearing rather than mailing them, because of the short time involved.
When I filed for SS I had a person that was assigned to my claim. I kept this person informed of all my dr appts, what happened and what medication was prescribed. I did not hire an atty on my claim. Do you have an atty helping you? If so, then you should keep his secretary informed of your medical situation so they can obtain the records.
My gi dr is who said I must take a medical retirement because of my health. He offered to write any letter necessary. From that time on he wrote in all his chart notes that I was unable to do any kind of employment. Hope some of this helps you. Susie