david b. daugherty

Social Security Judge Retires As Investigation of Work Record Continues

by Staff | July 22nd, 2011

An administrative law judge from Huntington, West Virginia—David B. Daugherty—has announced his retirement as multiple investigations into his work record continue. Daugherty, 75, came under fire in May when The Wall Street Journal published a front-page whistle-blower questioning why the judge awarded Social Security Disability benefits in nearly all of the cases that he’s decided over the last few years.

Specifically, Daugherty awarded disability benefits in all of the 729 cases he decided in the first half of 2011, and in 2010 he granted benefits to all but four of the 1,300 cases he decided. Disability judges typically approve benefits in about 60 percent of the cases that come across their desks.

The Wall Street Journal reports that as a result of the situation in West Virginia, the approval rates amongst all Social Security Disability judges—and there are about 1,500 of them in the U.S.—have become more closely scrutinized. Among other issues, the agency is now considering putting a limit on the number of cases a judge can decide annually and working toward making it more difficult for judges to assign themselves cases.

Read more.

Do you think the method by which administrative law judges award disability benefits needs to be refined and better monitored?

If you need help with your Social Security Disability benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Top Social Security Judge Steps Down After Criticism

by Staff | June 10th, 2011

It was announced yesterday that Charlie Andrus–chief Social Security Administration judge in the agency’s Huntington, West Virginia, office—voluntarily stepped down from his position amid controversy about an approval-happy judge who he was overseeing.

After the Wall Street Journal reported on May 19 that Judge David B. Daugherty had approved all 729 disability appeals cases that had come before him in 2011, the agency put him on indefinite administrative leave while they investigated the Huntington office.

The WSJ also found that Daugherty had taken on an unusually high number of cases and that he was taking cases that had been assigned to other judges. The newspaper wondered, too, if the judge hadn’t made “improper” agreements with disability lawyers in Huntington.

Andrus has served as the Huntington office’s chief judge for 14 years. He will remain a judge there, though not its chief judge.

In May, Andrus told the Wall Street Journal that—with regard to Daugherty’s high percentage of cases approved—“the numbers speak for themselves” and that “as a supervisor I don’t ask judges why they decide cases the way they do.”

Read more.

Do you feel like the Social Security Administration needs to improve its process of approving and denying disability claims?

If you need help with your Social Security benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.

Judge Being Investigated for High Rate of Approval on Social Security Disability Appeals

by Staff | May 20th, 2011

After a Wall Street Journal exposé on the high rate at which administrative law judge David B. Daugherty approves Social Security Disability appeals claims, the U.S. Social Security Administration inspector general’s office has launched an investigation.

Daugherty is one of 1,000 judges tasked with reviewing appeals claims. On average these judges approve about 60 percent of appeals, but Daugherty reportedly approves 99.7%. The WSJ reports that in the first six months of 2011 the 75-year-old judge from Huntington, West Virginia, approved benefits in all 729 cases that came before him.

On Thursday investigators visited the Huntington Social Security Administration office, where they interviewed employees and removed at least one computer, according to The WSJ.

“We are currently conducting multiple investigations and expect to take appropriate action before too long,” said a spokesman for the Social Security Administration.

Read more.

Do you think that the Social Security Disability approval process is fair? Why is it so difficult for some people’s appeals to get approved while others get rubber-stamped?

If you need help with your Social Security benefits, contact the Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin.