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Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

Can I Trust The Judge Hearing My Case To Be Fair?

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Aug 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

I have written many times about the Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) who hear Social Security disability cases.  I have noted, for example, that they are subject to the same biases as the rest of us.  But, I have never had any cause to doubt that any ALJ I ever dealt with was scrupulous and wanted to make the right decision.  Above all else, these ALJs are honest.

The Crooked Judge Who Sold Himself Cheap

Which makes news of a corrupt ALJ harder to take. We have word now of an ALJ from Huntington, WV, who just received a four-year jail sentence for agreeing to defraud Social Security of hundreds of millions of dollars.  David Daugherty, while sitting as an

No, You're Out Of Order

ALJ, conspired with an attorney named Eric Conn to get thousands of disability cases approved that might not otherwise have been approved. The prosecutors allege this fraud cost Social Security over $500,000,000.  Given how much money changed hands, Daugherty ended up with "only" $609,000.  Interestingly, that is less than 4 years salary for an ALJ.  While a lot, $600,000 hardly seems like enough money to throw away a career and reputation for. 

Harm Is More Than Monetary

The harm caused by Daugherty goes beyond money.  Events like this affirm in the minds of many people that the whole Social Security disability system is fixed.  People will always remember something like this while forgetting the millions of disabled adults and children lifted out of poverty by Social Security disability. 

The Exception That Proves The Rule

You Can Trust Me

The good news is that cases like this are so unheard of that it reminds us of just how good the ALJ's are.  The system worked in the sense that the police caught Daugherty and sent him to jail.  Let's hope that we don't hear another story like this again.

Have you had interactions with an ALJ? How did it go? Do you agree that ALJ's are honest and fair? Let me know. 

About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.


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John Kuhnlein has been assisting people with Social Security disability claims for the past 25+ years.

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Feel free to call with any questions or concerns you have about Social Security disability. I never charge for a consultation. In fact, there is no charge at all until we win your case. Unlike most lawyers, I never charge extra for things like telephone calls or making copies.