About Us

We are disability lawyers who can handle your disability case for you. We take care of filing the disability application, developing your case, and guiding you throughout the process.

Our experience with Social Security disability and in-depth knowledge of the administrative system means we know how to prove your disability and help you get the disability benefits you deserve.

About Susan Michele Schaefer

Ms. Schaefer has over 30 years of professional experience. She began her career as a trial lawyer before establishing a decades-long career at the Social Security Administration (SSA).

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.

Ms. Schaefer also has a unique perspective due to her work experience at SSA National Headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland where she served as a Deputy Director, Branch Chief, and Technical Expert.

She developed medical and vocational policy rules and regulations and participated in numerous SSA initiatives, including the Listing of Impairments Update and the Vocational Rules Modernization.

Professional Licenses and Certifications

  • Alabama Bar
  • Indiana Bar 
  • U.S. Veterans Administration Accrediation

Professional Awards and Activities:

Awards:

  • SSA Peformance Awards for Excellence in Developing Medical Policy (2016, 2017, 2018)
  • SSA Commissioner’s Award for Outstanding Performance in Medical Policy and the Listing of Impairments Update (March 2016)
  • SSA Commissioner’s Team Award for Excellent Cross-Component Integrated Disability Process Teamwork Resulting in Implementation of the Steps 4/5 Vocational Assessment Expedient (September 2012)
  • SSA Deputy Commissioner’s Team Award for Developing and Conducting Virtual Screening Unit Training Sessions (March 2012)

Activities:

  • SSA author, drafted the Disability Hearing Officer part of Setting the Manner for the Appearance of Parties and Witnesses at a Hearing regulation
  • SSA supervisory lead, Listing of Impairments Update Iniative
  • SSA technical expert and team member, Vocational Rules Modernization
  • SSA lead, Integrated Disability Process that resulted in publication of:
         -Recontacting regulation (How We Collect and Consider Evidence of Disability) (See, 77 FR 10651)
         -Steps 4/5 vocational assessment expedient (See, 77 FR 43492)
  • SSA supervisory lead, Continuing Disability Review (CDR) Policy
  • SSA lead, established Huntington’s Disease (HD) impairment code and published Administrative Message AM-13057
  • SSA team member, assisted with publication of Compassionate Allowance templates for HD and other conditions
  • SSA technical team member, drafted updated decisional language on CDR and DAA for the Findings Integrated Templates
  • SSA primary author, Social Security Ruling 13-2p “Evaluating Cases Involving Drug Addiction and Alcoholism (DAA)”
  • Ex Officio SSA representative, Chronic Fatigue Advisory Committee
  • SSA representative, Occupational Information Development Advisory Committee
  • SSA representative, Federal Interagency Committee on Traumatic Brain Injury
  • SSA technical expert lead, conducted technical review of the adult disability online training course provided by SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR), funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
  • SSA lead, collaborated with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) about the childhood disability program

Presentations:

  • “Evaluation of Symptoms in Disability Claims, Social Security Ruling 16-3p”, Chronic Fatgue Advisory Committee (2016 Washington, DC)
  • “Drug Addiction and Alcoholism (DAA) with Co-Occurring Mental Disorders”, SSA Continuing Medical Education (October 2015 Baltimore, MD)
  • “Drug Addiction and Alcoholism (DAA) and Disability”, National Association of Disability Representatives (March 2014 Washington, DC)
  • “Understanding SSA’s Policy on Drug Addiction and Alcoholism”, National Health Care for the Homeless Council and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, Department of Health and Human Services (June 2013 Webinar)
  • “Huntington’s Disease Question and Answer Session with SSA”, Huntington’s Disease Convention (June 2013 Webinar)
  • “Medical Policy and the Listing of Impairments”, SSA Training for Administrative Law Judges (2006, 2007 Baltimore, MD)
  • “New SSA Technology: Video Teleconferencing (VTC) Hearings,Electronic Files, and Digital Recordings”, Houston Bar Association (April 2005 Houston, TX)
  • “Pre-Hearing Development of Social Security Disability Cases”, Houston Bar Association (April 2003 Houston, TX)

About Michael Lopez

Mr. Lopez is a disability law advocate who is well versed in processing disability claims from the initial application level throughout the administrative process.

He helps people who need Social Security Disability benefits by reviewing their medical records and preparing detailed memorandums for judges.

Contact Us Today

Contact us for a free no obligation disability case consultation. Whether you are thinking about filing an application for disability benefits, or have already filed and been denied. We are happy to talk to you about your case.

When we represent you, we show our commitment by providing you with information, guidance, and support at every step by taking the following actions:

  • Assist you with completing and filing the initial disability claim application.
  • Advocate your disability case and represent you in all administrative levels of appeal.
  • Help obtain all the medical evidence from your physicians, specialists, and others prove your disability.
  • Stay in touch with you so that we are aware of your current situation and current medical condition.
  • File a memorandum with the Office of Hearings Operations’ Administrative Law Judge setting out all the relevant medical and vocational aspects of your case to prove your disability.
  • Have a pre-hearing conference with you prior to the hearing with an Administrative Law Judge to make sure that you are prepared.