Judge Kenneth Matheny served as an Administrative Appeals Judge from 2010 until his retirement in February 2017. Judge Matheny began his career with the Social Security Administration in 1991 as an attorney in the Charleston, WV Hearing Office. In 1997, Judge Matheny was named Regional Attorney of the Philadelphia Regional Office of Hearings and Appeals. His main duties were to provide policy advice to the Regional Chief Administrative Law Judge, to organize refresher training for Administrative Law Judges, and to provide legal advice to the Supervisory Staff Attorneys serving in the Philadelphia Region. Subsequently, Judge Matheny was an attorney with the Social Security Administration’s Office of General Counsel, where his primary duty was to litigate cases in the federal district courts. Judge Matheny left this position to return to the Charleston, WV Hearing Office as a Supervisory Staff Attorney, where he supervised the activities of a team of attorneys and paralegal specialists who assisted Administrative Law Judges in the processing of appeals. As a Supervisory Staff Attorney, Judge Matheny’s other duties included rendering legal advice to the office’s Administrative Law Judges and mentoring newly appointed Administrative Law Judges.
In 2001, Judge Matheny was promoted to the position of Appeals Officer with the Social Security Administration’s Appeals Council, where his primary function was to adjudicate appeals of Administrative Law Judge decisions. During the five years that Judge Matheny worked as an Appeals Officer, he reviewed thousands of Administrative Law Judge decisions to determine if these decisions were supported by substantial evidence or contained errors of law. Another of Judge Matheny’s essential duties as an Appeals Officer was to review requests from the Office of General Counsel to voluntarily remand cases that had been appealed to federal courts but which often contained errors making defense of these cases impossible.
In 2006 Judge Matheny was promoted to the position of Division Director of the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Federal Reviewing Official. As Division Director, Judge Matheny supervised a team of attorneys who adjudicated appeals of unfavorable disability determinations while maintaining his own caseload of appeals to adjudicate. In 2010 Judge Matheny was chosen to be an Administrative Appeals Judge. In this highly responsible position, Judge Matheny adjudicated hundreds of appeals of Administrative Law Judge decisions; supervised an Appeals Officer who also adjudicated appeals; worked closely with the Office of General Counsel to determine if cases that had been appealed to federal court were defensible and, if not, to remand them to the Administrative Law Judge for further proceedings; and provided advice and counsel to a team of attorneys and paralegal specialists whose function was to analyze appeals and to determine if the Administrative Law Judge decisions were supported by substantial evidence or contained errors of law. In his last four years with the Social Security Administration, Judge Matheny served with the Civil Actions Division of the Appeals Council and worked closely with the Office of General Counsel regarding pending litigation. As a judge with the Civil Actions Division, Judge Matheny adjudicated hundreds of Administrative Law Judge decisions which were issued following remands by federal courts to determine if the decisions complied with the orders of the courts and to determine if the decisions contained errors which required remand for corrective action.
During his 26 years with the Social Security Administration, Judge Matheny was part of a training cadre that provided training for hundreds of new attorneys and refresher training for Administrative Law Judges and Administrative Appeals Judges. During his career with the Social Security Administration, Judge Matheny received 23 awards for outstanding public service. In addition, Judge Matheny is the author of many published articles about disability law. Judge Matheny’s other work experience includes two years as a clerk with the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and nine years as an adjunct instructor of college writing courses. Judge Matheny holds a B.A. degree (cum laude) from West Virginia Wesleyan College, a Master’s Degree in English Literature from West Virginia University, and a J.D. from West Virginia University College of Law.