Social Security Disability 101: Adding social security disability to your practice

Stacy Elizabeth Thompson
Stacy Elizabeth Thompson | Bluestein Thompson Sullivan, LLC

Stacy Elizabeth Thompson graduated from the University of South Carolina Honors College in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Studies.

Live Video-Broadcast: June 19, 2024

Social Security Disability 101: Adding social security disability to your practice

$295.00 4 hour CLE

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Program Summary

Designed for the new practitioner or seasoned attorney looking to expand into a new area of practice, this program will outline the types of social security benefits, the application appeals process and procedure and the role of the advocate in pursuing a social security disability benefit claim.

This course is co-sponsored with myLawCLE.

Key topics to be discussed:

  • Types of Cases / Appeal Process
  • Case Evaluation
  • Case Preparation
  • Role of the Attorney and Paralegal

Date / Time: June 19, 2024

  • 11:00 am – 3:30 pm Eastern
  • 10:00 am – 2:30 pm Central
  • 9:00 am – 1:30 pm Mountain
  • 8:00 am – 12:30 pm Pacific

Closed-captioning available


Stacy Elizabeth Thompson_FedBarStacy Elizabeth Thompson | Bluestein Thompson Sullivan, LLC

Stacy Elizabeth Thompson graduated from the University of South Carolina Honors College in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Studies. She received her Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law and a Master of International Business Studies Degree (Portugese track) from the Darla Moore School of Business in 2000.

She joined Bluestein & Nichols, LLC (now Bluestein Thompson Sullivan, LLC) in 2000, and became a partner in 2007. Stacy practices exclusively in the area of Social Security Disability. Stacy is a sustaining member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant’s Representatives (NOSSCR) and has been a member of the NOSSCR Board representing the Fourth and DC Circuits. She is also a member of the South Carolina Association for Justice, the American Association for Justice, the SC Women Lawyers Association, the SC Bar.

Association and the Richland County Bar Association. Stacy volunteers with the South Carolina Pro Bono program through the Ask-A-Lawyer, SC Free Legal Answers and SC HELP at Transitions shelter and frequently participates as a judge for Mock Trial competitions (Middle School through Law School levels). She is a graduate of the SC Bar Leadership Academy (2010) and Leadership SC (2013 class) and has served on the Board of Trustees for Leadership SC.

Stacy is chair of the Social Security Disability section of the SC Association for Justice (formerly SC Trial Lawyers) and is a member of the SC Bar Publications Committee, Pro Bono Committee and is the current chair of the Solo/Small Firm Council. She has been a speaker at numerous seminars regarding social security disability throughout the state and nationally, including the South Carolina Association for Justice Annual Conference (2007 – 2020), and has organized/moderated social security seminars for the SC Bar (2006 – 2019). Stacy has been a speaker at NOSSCR conferences (2011 – 2018) in the areas of general practice tips, initial interviews, case development and dealing with the electronic file and has been the feature speaker on national teleconferences in various areas of initial case development, handling vocational testimony and the role of the paralegal in disability cases.

Stacy is the author of Social Security Disability Cases in South Carolina: Basic Case Evaluation and Management (SC Bar 4th Edition, 2019), and has authored chapters on social security disability for the Paralegal Survival Guide (SC Bar, 2020) and Briefcase Lawyer (SC Bar, 2nd edition due for publication in 2021). Stacy is a sustaining member of the Junior League of Columbia, where she served as Vice-President for Community and in 2012 was the recipient of the Katharine Heath Manning Perry award, which recognizes a member who has excelled in community voluntarism and activism. Stacy previously served as Board President of Able South Carolina, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of independent living for individuals with disabilities, and on the board of Special Olympics SC. She is a member of the USC Association of Letterman (Volleyball), a passionate Gamecock and proud mom of several rescue pets. Alongside her mother, she is an avid hiker and traveler, having visited all seven continents and reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Everest Base Camp.


I. Types of cases – Discussion of the types of disability cases encountered eligibility, requirements and types of benefits available | 11:00am – 11:30am

  • Disability Insurance Benefits
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Disabled Adult Child
  • Survivors’ benefits
  • Other benefits the client may be receiving or may be eligible for
  • Medicare/Medicaid

II. Discussion of the applicable regulations and significant rulings that will affect the case | 11:30am – 11:40am

III. Review of the five-step sequential evaluation used to evaluate disability | 11:40am – 12:00pm

  • Five Step Sequential Evaluation
  • GRIDS / Listings
  • Regulations
  • Rulings

Break | 12:00pm – 12:10pm

IV. Discussion of the disability application process and electronic filing of appeals | 12:10pm – 12:20pm

V. Review of all necessary forms and submissions to the Social Security Administration | 12:20pm – 12:30pm

VI. Outline of the standard of review at each level | 12:30pm – 1:00pm

  • Initial application
  • Reconsideration
  • Hearing before administrative law judge
  • Appeals Council
  • Federal Court
  • Dealing with the electronic file

VII. Discussion of how to determine when to accept representation | 1:00pm – 1:10pm

Break | 1:10pm – 1:20pm

VIII. Investigate a case or turn a case down | 1:20pm – 1:30pm

IX. Review of when information should be obtained and how to maximize your efficiency in building a case | 1:30pm – 1:50pm

  • Deadlines for filing
  • Accepting v. Investigating a case
  • Red flags – how to spot them and when to avoid
  • Obtaining information to develop the case

X. Discussion of how to best build your case, including sources of information | 1:50pm – 2:00pm

XI. What to look for in the medical records | 2:00pm – 2:10pm

XII. Review of how to prepare your client and your case for the hearing | 2:10pm – 2:20pm

Break | 2:20pm – 2:30pm

XIII. Overview of the hearing process, including examining your witness and cross-examining the vocational expert | 2:30pm – 3:00pm

  • Evaluating the case at the initial meeting
  • Reviewing medical records / other sources of information
  • Preparing your case for a hearing
  • At the hearing and after the hearing
  • Dealing with vocational testimony / medical expert testimony

XIV. Overview of the attorney fee process in disability cases at all levels of appeal | 3:00pm – 3:10pm

XV. Role of the paralegal | 3:10pm – 3:30pm

  • Getting paid in disability cases – fee agreement v. fee petition
  • EAJA fees in Federal Court cases
  • role of the paralegal in case intake, management, and workup