Judiciary

Lenient Social Security Judge Resigns Amid Investigations Into His Conduct


An administrative law judge who awarded Social Security disability benefits in every case he decided over a six-month period has resigned amid investigations into his conduct.

Judge David Daugherty of Huntington, W.Va., approved disability awards in all 729 cases he heard in the first half of fiscal 2011, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. In 2010, he heard nearly 1,300 cases, and approved benefits in all but four of them.

Daugherty denied wrongdoing in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. He said the Social Security system is broken because lawyers know what kind of information is needed to automatically win their cases. Social Security officials and some former judges told the newspaper that the agency encouraged approvals as a way to reduce case backlogs.

The approval rate for disability benefits is about 60 percent for most Social Security judges, according to the newspaper.

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