HUNTINGTON – A Huntington administrative law judge has been placed on leave while the Social Security Administration investigates the high number of social security applications he has granted so far this fiscal year.
The Social Security Administration placed David B. Daugherty, 75, on an indefinite leave one week after an article was published in The Wall Street Journal detailing the unusually high number of disability benefits applications and his decisions.
Daugherty awarded benefits in each of the 729 disability cases he decided in the first six months of 2011's fiscal year. In 2010, Daugherty denied benefits in only four cases out of 1,284.
There are 1,500 administrative law judges who rule on disability cases in which applicants have been denied at least twice by Social Security. Judges award benefits approximately 60 percent of the time, according to government statistics.
Daugherty said it was a coincidence that he had approved all of the cases in the first six months of the year. He said attorneys have been extremely well-prepared and have figured out how to bring cases to judges that are hard to deny.
Investigators are also looking at why Daugherty approved the large number of cases for clients of an Eastern Kentucky attorney named Eric C. Conn, who specializes in disability cases.