Free Consultation: (334) 440-6261Tap to Call This Lawyer
Susan Michele Schaefer

Susan Michele Schaefer

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

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.

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.

Practice Areas
  • Social Security Disability
  • Bankruptcy
Additional Practice Area
  • Veterans Administration Disability Law
  • Free Consultation
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Contingent Fees
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Alabama State Bar Association
ID Number: 9216G15Y
Placeholder image for jurisdictions.
Indiana Supreme Court
ID Number: 14112-64
Placeholder image for jurisdictions.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Accredited
ID Number:
Placeholder image for jurisdictions.
  • English: Spoken, Written
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.
Valparaiso University School of Law
J.D. (1988) | Law
Placeholder image for education.
Indiana University - Indiana University-Bloomington
B.A. (1984) | English
Indiana University - Indiana University-Bloomington Logo
Commissioner’s Award for Outstanding Performance in Medical Policy
Social Security Administration
Professional Associations
American Bar Association
Placeholder image for professional associations.
Indiana State Bar  # 14112-64
Placeholder image for professional associations.
Alabama State Bar
Placeholder image for professional associations.
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
Websites & Blogs
Cardea Disability, LLC website
Cardea Disability, LLC
Legal Answers
29 Questions Answered

Q. Will returning to my maiden name affect my death benefits?
A: No, changing your name to your maiden name will not affect Social Security survivor benefits you are receiving since you are not changing your marital status. Once you have your name legally changed, you need to inform Social Security and show them the court order of the name change. To report a name change, fill out an Application for a Social Security Card (Form SS-5). Social Security will ask for identifying documents of your prior name. Social Security will then change your records to your current legal name. For more information, see
Q. After 17 yes SSD is evalutating my case and want to see their doctor. With this virus must I go?
A: It is not in your best interest to cancel the consultative examination. If you refuse to attend the consultative examination, your case may be denied due to failure to cooperate. Call the Social Security claims examiner and ask if they can reschedule a consultative examination virtually. Social Security offices have been using telehealth for consultative examinations more frequently. If that is not an option for you, ask that your appointment be rescheduled with the consultative examiner as the first client of the day so that you will not have contact with other patients.
Q. How can an average person know how successful a disability lawyer has been in getting people approved for SSDI?
A: There is no data on individual disability attorney wins Social Security cases that I have found, but there is data on how a disability attorney or representative can improve your chances of being allowed disability benefits. In the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report GAO-18-37: Published: Dec 7, 2017. Publicly Released: Jan 8, 2018, GAO found that disability claimants who had an attorney or other representative to help them were allowed benefits at a rate nearly three times higher than those without representation. See This data shows how important it is to have a disability attorney help you with your case. One way to locate a successful disability attorney is to find out his or level of expertise in Social Security law. Review the attorney profiles of those who practice Social Security disability on Justia and other reliable websites. See what articles or presentations the attorney has made that shows he or she really knows this area of the law. Consult with a disability lawyer to answer any questions you may have to evaluate the level of service that will be provided to you. A successful attorney will be readily be able to identify relevant legal issues in your disability claim and find an approach to address it. It is a very good idea to hire a disability lawyer before you file your initial disability application with Social Security.
View More Answers
Contact & Map
Cardea Law Group, LLC
P.O. Box 681586
Prattville, AL 36068
Telephone: (334) 440-6261
Monday: 9 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday: 9 AM - 4:30 PM (Today)
Friday: 9 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed