There are unwritten rules you must learn if you plan to successfully navigate the Department of Human Services.
I'll start with a key strategy---dress down.
Not the way you'd dress down to meet a friend out for watching the game at the bar or if you were babysitting a small child. I mean "look like a bag of ass" dress down.
The shittier you look, the better you'll be able to sell your legitimate need for assistance.
Ladies, no makeup---not even a little. If you have one, tie a bandana around your head or don't wash your hair for a few days and throw that greasy mess into a pony tail.
Gentlemen, any type of sweat pants that you wear to clean out the basement or paint the house should do. But please---make sure they don't look too nice.
You should never wear ANY jewelry.
Do not carry or wear any accessory that could be misconstrued as brand name or "real."
During my first layoff in '07, I went to apply for every type of aid (per someone's recommendation) and made the mistake of bringing a very plain, red knockoff Coach bag. At the time that's what I was my go to tote, gym bag, etc. When my counselor took a look at my bag, she commented that perhaps I should sell my purse because it might bring me "a lot of money."
That comment came while she was going through my finances with a fine tooth comb.
I don't know what was more appalling; the fact that she suggested that I start selling my possessions or that she couldn't tell a good Coach knockoff from a real one.
A part of the title of Jen Lancaster's first book was "...Why you should never carry a Prada bag to the unemployment office." I'd like to amend that phrase to don't carry anything other than a plastic grocery bag when seeking assistance.
But you get my point.
You must be devoid of makeup, accessories and fashion. Once that has been achieved, you have your look down.
Now you have to work on your demeanor.