Social Security Judge Demotes Self Amid Claims Probe

Thursday, 09 Jun 2011 02:06 PM

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The chief judge of a West Virginia Social Security claims court has given up his administrative post amid an internal probe of another judge’s unusually high approval rates for disability applicants, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Social Security, claims, disabilityCharlie Andrus will remain on the bench of the Social Security Administration court in Huntington but won’t run the office in the wake of a Journal article that said fellow Judge David B. Daugherty seemed disinclined to deny taxpayer-funded disability payments to anyone who asked.

The Journal revealed in May that Daugherty, who is on indefinite administrative leave and has denied any wrongdoing, approved 729 of 729 applications for disability in the first six months of fiscal 2011. That number included some cases that had been assigned to other judges or were waiting to be assigned — practices that Andrus ordered stopped after the Journal contacted him to discuss Daugherty.

Daugherty’s track record contrasts with a national approval rate of about 60 percent among judges weighing Social Security disability claims. Many Social Security judges have told the Journal that they are under pressure to settle petitions quickly to meet monthly case quotas and that their decisions rarely are reviewed.

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