Not surprisingly, Social Security has a strict policy of forbidding weapons of any kind being carried into a Social Security Disability hearing. What does surprise me is the frequency of occurrences where this is a problem.
Recently, one of my clients traveled up to Minneapolis from Rochester with his mother. I had warned him not to bring weapons or any kind of sharp object – and he didn’t.
His mother, however, a sweet lady in her 60s, had a plastic makeup bag crammed with objects. She was mortified when the security guard at the hearing office searched the bag and removed: a pair of scissors, a nail cutter, and believe it or not, an honest to goodness switchblade knife!
I have to take the blame. It simply hadn’t occurred to me that she would need to be warned about the rule. I had to walk back to the parking lot and deposit her “weapons” in the trunk of my car.
Last year, despite my warnings, one of my clients carried a large handbag to her Social Security Disability appeal hearing, where the security guard found a “flip knife” that she had forgotten about. My law clerk was deputized to carry the knife back to his car and lock it up. At my client’s request, we later disposed of the knife.
On yet another occasion, one of my clients, an innocent young mother of a disabled child, produced a menacing “club” from her bag which, again, needed to be disposed of prior to her entrance into the Social Security Disability hearing office.
Although we do chuckle about these incidents in our office, we are forced to take this ban seriously. The judges and staff at the Social Security hearing offices work very hard with a large caseload, and the last thing they need to worry about is safety.
So, think about what’s in your purse, make-up bag, coat pockets, wallet, coin purse, satchels jacket, brief case, bag lunch and/or anything else you plan on bringing into your Social Security Disability hearing. –and please don’t look at us funny when we ask.