Appropriate Dress and Demeanor for a Disability Hearing

Appropriate dress and demeanor for a disability hearing may make a difference. I had a young man show up with a tank top.  This was after extensive conversation about appropriate dress for a disability hearing.  The judge was not pleased.  The Claimant’s appearance was the first testimony.  First impressions can damage subsequent verbal testimony.  The following is a guideline for proper dress:  Do not wear shirts with wording, pictures, or logos.  A judge may not like the written message on the clothing.  Do not wear tank tops.  Keep yourself properly covered.  Do not wear fingernail polish or make-up.   Keep jewelry to a minimum. Be properly bathed and use deodorant. Do not arrive at the hearing under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs.  You do not want the smell of alcohol be your first testimony to the judge.  Do take your prescribed medication even if the medication causes you to have memory issues.  The judge needs to see what you are like with your medications. Tell the truth at the hearing.  You should eliminate certain phrases at the hearing.  Do not say “to be honest”.  The phase “to be honest’ makes it sound as if you are not telling the truth.  On several occasions, I have had judges make comments to the Claimant about this phrase.  

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