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Susan Michele Schaefer

Susan Michele Schaefer

Cardea Law Group, LLC
  • Social Security Disability, Bankruptcy, Probate ...
  • Alabama, Indiana, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Accredited
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&ASocial MediaResponsive Law

Susan Michele Schaefer has over 30 years of professional experience. She began her career as a trial attorney before establishing a decades-long career at the Social Security Administration (SSA). She is also accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Practice areas include Social Security disability, VA disability, bankruptcy, and wills and estates.

She has a wealth of knowledge about disability from extensive field experience at the Disability Determination Services, and at the Office of Hearings Operations as a Hearing Office Director, Supervisory Attorney, and Senior Attorney, and at Social Security National Headquarters as Deputy Director, Branch Chief. Ms. Schaefer know how the system works and will help you get the benefits you need.

Valparaiso University School of Law
J.D. (1988) | Law
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Indiana University - Indiana University-Bloomington
B.A. (1984) | English
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Professional Experience
Cardea Law Group, LLC
- Current
We will provide you with advice and guidance throughout your case. We will advocate on your behalf and make a comprehensive presentation of your case. We know how the system works and can cut through complicated bureaucratic procedures to help you win your case.
Deputy Director, Branch Chief
Social Security Administration
Provided disability policy advice to SSA executives. Also led research and drafting of regulations, rulings and policy guidance.
Hearing Office Director, Supervisory Attorney
Social Security Administration
Supervised attorneys and paralegals in Social Security hearing offices.
Trial Attorney
Emerick and Diggins, PC
Trial attorney in a general practice law firm.
Speaking Engagements
Evaluation of Symptoms in Disability Claims, Social Security Ruling 16-3p, Chronic Fatgue Advisory Committee, Washington, D.C.
Health and Human Services
Drug Addiction and Alcoholism (DAA) and Disability, National Association of Disability Representatives Conference, Washington, D.C.
National Association of Disability Representatives
Accredited Attorney
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Commissioner’s Award for Outstanding Performance in Medical Policy
Social Security Administration
Professional Associations
American Bar Association
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Indiana State Bar  # 14112-64
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Alabama State Bar
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Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Alabama State Bar Association
ID Number: 9216G15Y
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Indiana Supreme Court
ID Number: 14112-64
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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Accredited
ID Number:
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  • Free Consultation
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Contingent Fees
Practice Areas
    Social Security Disability
    Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Debt Relief
    Probate Administration
    Estate Planning
    Guardianship & Conservatorship Estate Administration, Health Care Directives, Trusts, Wills
Additional Practice Area
  • Veterans Administration Disability Law
  • English: Spoken, Written
Legal Answers
Q. Do I need a lawyer first to represent me in filing for disability?
A: You are not required to have a lawyer to represent you when you file for disability. However, hiring a lawyer early in the disability application process, even before you file, is a good idea. You will be able to discuss your particular case issues with your lawyer and be able to present your disability claim well. A person's age, education, work experience, as well as functional limitations caused by physical and psychological impairments all factor in to a disability claim. It can be a lot to handle on your own. Most disability lawyers offer a free initial consultation and will accept disability cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that they only get paid if you win your disability case. It costs the same to have a disability lawyer at the very start as it would if you hired the lawyer later before you have to appear at a hearing.
Q. Hi, my birth certificate and my social security have two different last names (one is my moms and the other is my dads
A: Use your certified U.S. birth certificate to apply for a corrected Social Security card. Complete form SS-5 - You may need additional documents to prove your identity. See Make sure you use the name that is on your birth certificate for all of your other paperwork. Check with the licensing bureau in Georgia to find out what identification they will accept for a state ID or driver's license. It is likely that they will accept a certified U.S. birth certificate and a passport. You can use other documents, sc as a W-2. You will need proof of residency. which could be something like a utility bill. You will likely not need your Social Security card for your ID - you just need to know your Social Security number.
Q. I applied for social security disability due to medical issues.
A: It is not uncommon to be denied Social Security disability at the initial and reconsideration levels. Continue to appeal your claim. You will be able to provide testimony to an Administrative Law Judge at the third level of appeal. Meanwhile, it is important that you have all of your medical records in file with Social Security. Also, be aware that Social Security considers your age, education, work experience and your symptoms as well as any side-effects from medications and how they affect you, and your ability to function despite your impairments when evaluating your disability claim. See It would be a very good idea for you to consult with an experienced disability lawyer about the particulars of your case. Most have a free initial consultation. You may want to hire a disability lawyer to help you win your case - many offer a contingent fee where they only get paid if you are approved for disability. Locate a disability lawyer by going to the "Find a Lawyer" tab on Justia above.
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Websites & Blogs
Cardea Law Group, LLC website
Cardea Law Group Blog Articles
Contact & Map
Cardea Law Group, LLC
P.O. Box 681586
Prattville, AL 36068
Telephone: (334) 440-6261
Monday: 9 AM - 4:30 PM (Today)
Tuesday: 9 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday: 9 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday: 9 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed