Disability claim denied: three IMEs establish continuing disability but none confirm permanent
Sandra Ann Monroe filed a disability claim in the circuit court after the State Employees Retirement Board denied her application for retirement disability benefits. Monroe was a nurse at the Alger Maximum Correctional Facility in 2007 when she was suspended and then terminated for undisclosed reasons. Soon after, she sought disability benefits based on a major depressive disorder. Ultimately, the SERB sent her for three separate "independent" medical examinations by doctors of the board's choosing. All three physicians concluded she was disabled but offered hope that her disability "could" end within 4-12 months with proper treatment and therapy. Because none of the physicians concluded that she was "permanently" disabled, the Court of Appeals upheld the Circuit Court's judgment that she was not entitled to disability benefits.Monroe also challenged the decision of the SERB because it her disability claim was defended by the Attorney General's office, while a separate member of the Attorney General's office sat on the 9-member board that rendered the decision in her case. The Court distinguished prior cases where a similar "dual role" was deemed a denial of due process.