Skip to the main content.
Free Case Review




green lock security thumb

green lock security thumb



green lock security thumb

green lock security thumb



6 min read

Denied Justice: The Challenges of Social Security Disability Benefits


Michelle L. Ardoin's Challenging Journey

In 2017, Michelle L. Ardoin found herself in an incredibly challenging situation. Due to her worsening health condition, she made the difficult decision to file applications for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, with an onset of disability noted in April of that year. Little did Ardoin know that her journey to secure these crucial benefits would be met with numerous hurdles and setbacks, testing her resilience and determination.

Initial Denials of Her Social Security Benefit

Ardoin's quest for Social Security Disability benefits began with her initial applications for SSDI and SSI benefits. As she poured her heart and soul into documenting the details of her disability and its impact on her ability to work, Ardoin held onto hope, believing that these vital financial protections would provide a lifeline during her time of need. However, to her great disappointment, her claims were not just denied once, but twice, even upon reconsideration. It soon became abundantly clear that the path to obtaining these important benefits would be anything but straightforward for Ardoin.

The Determination to Keep Fighting

Undeterred by initial setbacks, Sarah Ardoin fortified herself for the next phase of the process, summoning the determination and inner strength necessary to confront the challenges ahead. The hearings provided her with the opportunity to present her case, supplemented with additional evidence, and make a compelling argument for her entitlement to social security disability insurance.

The Uphill Battle

Nevertheless, Ardoin soon grasped the reality that the path ahead would be an arduous uphill battle. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) assigned to her case adhered to a stringent five-step process mandated by the Social Security Act to assess the severity of her disability. While acknowledging the presence of significant impairments impacting Ardoin's capacity to work, the ALJ ultimately determined that she did not meet the specific criteria outlined in the Act.

Armed with an unwavering resolve and an indomitable quest for justice, Ardoin defiantly rejected defeat. Deep within her core, she knew she deserved the social security disability benefits she sought and remained resolute in her determination to fight for what was rightfully hers. Bolstered by the unwavering support of her legal team, Ardoin readied herself to appeal the unfavorable decision rendered by the ALJ and escalate her case to a higher court.

Gathering Strong Medical Evidence

As she embarked on the next phase of her fight, Ardoin understood the importance of gathering thorough medical evidence to support her disability claim. Medical records, expert evaluations, and other forms of evidence would serve as the backbone of her appeal. Ardoin knew that these crucial pieces of information would help demonstrate the true extent of her impairments and the impact they had on her ability to work.

Working with a Specialized Legal Team

Ardoin's journey towards securing her social security disability benefits took a crucial turn when she decided to collaborate with a specialized legal team. Recognizing the significance of their expertise in handling social security disability cases, Ardoin understood that she would benefit greatly from their wealth of knowledge and experience.

The specialized legal team that Ardoin chose knew exactly how to navigate the complex and intricate legal procedures associated with social security disability. They were well-versed in the rules and regulations set forth by the social security administration, and their expertise ensured that Ardoin's case would be handled with utmost professionalism and precision.

One of the key advantages of working with a specialized legal team was their ability to craft compelling arguments that would effectively present Ardoin's case before the higher court. They understood the importance of building a solid foundation for her case, gathering all the necessary evidence and medical records to support her disability claim. By doing so, they ensured that Ardoin's voice would be heard and her unique circumstances would be taken into consideration while making a decision regarding her Social Security Disability Benefit.

Moreover, the specialized legal team provided Ardoin with invaluable guidance throughout the entire process. They explained the intricacies of the law, clarifying any doubts or concerns she had along the way. This personalized support gave Ardoin the confidence she needed to navigate through a potentially overwhelming and complex legal system.

The collaborative relationship between Ardoin and her legal team was built on trust and open communication. Ardoin knew that she could rely on their expertise and professionalism to guide her through every step of the process. They worked closely together, ensuring that no stone was left unturned and that her case was presented in the strongest possible manner.

By enlisting the help of a specialized legal team, Ardoin maximized her chances of success in securing her social security disability benefits. Their knowledge, experience, and dedication to her case gave her the peace of mind that she had the best possible representation by her side.

Ardoin soon discovered a vast network of resources designed to assist disabled individuals in their pursuit of social security disability benefits. From a local social security field office to disability determination service offices, these organizations played a crucial role in providing guidance and aid to those navigating the complexities of the system. Ardoin proactively utilized these resources, gaining the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions throughout her appeal process.

Subtitle 9: Finding Hope in a Compassionate Allowance

As Ardoin's appeal took shape, she found solace in the fact that a compassionate allowance existed for individuals with severe medical conditions. This program, established by the Social Security Administration, aimed to expedite the processing of disability claims for those with exceptional circumstances. By emphasizing the urgent nature of her situation and highlighting the severity of her impairments, Ardoin hoped to qualify for this expedited review process and potentially secure the Social Security Disability benefit she so rightfully deserved.

With each step of her journey, Ardoin grew more resilient and determined. She knew that her fight for social security disability benefits was about more than just her. It was a fight for all those who faced similar challenges and had their lives affected by disability. Ardoin's determination and unwavering spirit were not just for her own benefit, but for the benefit of others who relied on the social safety net provided by the Social Security Administration.

The Road Ahead

As Ardoin prepared to present her case before the higher court, she knew that the road ahead would not be easy. But she was ready to face any challenge that came her way. With her legal team by her side and her unwavering determination as her guiding light, Ardoin was determined to overcome the hurdles that stood between her and the social security disability benefits she so rightfully deserved.

In Ardoin's case, the ALJ's decision to discount the opinions of PT Cooper, Dr. Goldstein, and Dr. Gordon sparked debate. These medical professionals provided valuable insights into Ardoin's condition and how it affected her daily functioning. However, the ALJ took a comprehensive approach in assessing Ardoin's residual functional capacity (RFC) by examining all of her medical records, as argued by the Commissioner.

While the ALJ provided sound reasoning and substantial evidence for dismissing certain medical opinions in Ardoin's case, not all opinions received the same level of scrutiny. Ardoin firmly believed that her disability had been underestimated by the ALJ's ruling and was determined to present compelling evidence that would accurately reflect the true extent of her disability and its impact on her ability to work.

The Court's Recognition of Error

Seeking justice, Ardoin's case eventually reached a higher court. The court meticulously examined the proceedings and scrutinized the ALJ's reasoning. During their analysis, they discovered that the reasons provided by the ALJ for discounting Dr. Gordon's sitting limitation lacked substantial evidence. In fact, the court deemed the ALJ's reasoning to be contradictory and significantly deficient in substantial evidence. This error was recognized as having the potential to significantly impact the determination of non-disability for Ardoin.

In Ardoin's relentless pursuit of the rightful social security disability insurance, their case reached a critical turning point. The court recognized the shortcomings in the Administrative Law Judge's handling of Dr. Gordon's assessment, underscoring the need for fair and thorough consideration of medical opinions in determining disability eligibility.

Throughout the proceedings, Ardoin had the invaluable support of social security disability advocates who understood the complexities of the system. These advocates played a vital role in ensuring that Ardoin's case received the attention it deserved and that all necessary evidence was presented for a comprehensive review. Their expertise and dedication shed light on the importance of a thorough and fair evaluation of disability claims.

Navigating the Social Security Administration (SSA) can be overwhelming, particularly for those seeking disability benefits. Ardoin's experience emphasized the importance of familiarizing oneself with the SSA's rules and regulations, as well as seeking assistance from professionals specializing in social security disability.

The disability determination process is a crucial step in obtaining social security disability benefits, and Ardoin's case highlighted the significance of understanding this process. From gathering medical evidence to attending consultative examinations, being proactive and knowledgeable about the steps involved can improve the chances of a successful outcome.

Medical evidence plays a pivotal role in disability determinations, as Ardoin's case clearly demonstrated. Submitting comprehensive and up-to-date medical records is essential to support the disability claim. Establishing a strong relationship with healthcare providers who can provide detailed documentation of the individual's medical condition is equally important.

Working with disability advocates made Ardoin's journey towards obtaining social security disability benefits more manageable. These professionals have a deep understanding of the system's intricacies and can guide individuals through the process, ensuring all necessary documentation is provided and deadlines are met. The support of disability advocates significantly increases the likelihood of a positive outcome.


The role of patience and persistence cannot be overstated when navigating the social security disability system. Ardoin's case exemplified the importance of remaining committed and resilient throughout the often lengthy and complex process. Maintaining a positive attitude and continuing to advocate for their rights maximizes the chances of a favorable outcome.

Ardoin's story offers valuable lessons for individuals seeking social security disability benefits. It emphasizes the significance of understanding the disability determination process, seeking assistance from disability advocates, and presenting strong and comprehensive medical evidence. By following Ardoin's example, individuals can effectively navigate the system and increase their chances of a successful disability claim.