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Former Disability Judge’s Rulings Investigated

Posted on Mar 09, 2012

According to investigators in West Virginia, a former Social Security Administration (SSA) judge, David B. Daugherty, awarded disability benefits in almost every case he heard during his time on the bench.

Now Daugherty is under the magnifying glass. It is reported that federal prosecutors have already appeared before a grand jury and presented some evidence. It all started with a Wall Street Journal first-page article that provided documentation of the former judge’s record. 

The Social Security Administration’s inspector general has spent months investigating Dougherty. Computers and documents have been seized from the Huntington appeals office. There is also a probe into the question of whether or not the judge received payment in exchange for his favorable SSA disability rulings.

Still, the investigation is not being discussed. Any questions asked of the SSA are being re-routed to the U.S. Attorney’s office. According to Booth Goodwin, U.S. attorney for the Southern District, “We can neither confirm nor deny an investigation into any current or former officer of the Social Security Administration here in the Southern District of West Virginia.” He continued, “However, generally speaking, we are always concerned about any threat to the public…and will work to hold individuals accountable if wrongdoing is found and able to be proven.”

It is important to note that the inspector general has not made any findings public yet and has not alleged any wrongdoing on Daugherty’s part. 

Approximately three million people will apply for disability benefits this year, and Social Security judges are asked to handle more and more of them, more and more quickly. As a result, some believe these judges are more likely to approve a high percentage of their cases. 

Meanwhile, the investigation of one West Virginia judge continues.

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John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law