Dos and Don’ts for Your Social Security Disability Hearing in Washington State

Your Social Security Disability hearing can seem like a daunting or nerve-wracking process—but you can make it go well by just following a few dos and don’ts.

Your Social Security Disability hearing in Washington State can be daunting. But if you prepare for it, you can significantly increase your chances of success. Here are some dos and don’ts for these hearings in three different areas, so that you’re well-equipped to present your case effectively.

Effective Communication


  • Speak clearly and concisely: When addressing the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), make sure your statements are clear and to the point. Avoid jargon or overly complex language.
  • Practice active listening: Pay close attention when others are speaking, especially the ALJ. This shows respect and ensures you don’t miss any critical information.
  • Ask questions: If you’re unsure about something, don’t hesitate to ask. It’s better to seek clarity than to make assumptions.


  • Interrupt: Always wait for your turn to speak. Interrupting can be seen as disrespectful and may harm your case.
  • Use aggressive language: Stay calm and avoid confrontational language. Remember, you’re there to present facts and make your case, not to argue.

Presentation of Evidence


  • Organize your documents: Before the hearing, make sure all your evidence is well-organized. This will help you present your case more effectively and make it easier for the ALJ to follow.
  • Highlight key points: Emphasize the most crucial parts of your evidence. This will help the ALJ understand the main points of your case quickly.
  • Provide copies: Always have extra copies of your evidence on hand so that everyone involved has access to the same information.


  • Overwhelm with information: While it’s essential to provide evidence, avoid bombarding the ALJ with too much information. Stick to the most relevant points.
  • Present unverified claims: Make sure that all your claims are backed by evidence. Making unverified statements can harm your credibility.

Interacting with Administrative Law Judges


  • Show respect: Always address the ALJ with respect. Remember, they are there to help you navigate the process and make a fair decision.
  • Follow protocol: Each hearing may have specific protocols to follow. Make sure you’re familiar with them, and that you adhere to them throughout the hearing.
  • Stay calm: Hearings can be stressful, but it’s essential that you remain calm and composed. This will help you present your case more effectively.


  • Argue: Avoid getting into arguments, especially with the ALJ. Stick to the facts and present your case professionally.
  • Make assumptions: Each case is unique. Don’t assume that the ALJ is familiar with your specific situation. Always provide complete information.

If you follow these dos and don’ts, you’ll be better prepared to navigate the details of Social Security Disability hearings in Washington State. Remember, preparation and understanding are key to ensuring the best possible outcome for your case.

Working With Schott Law

If you need help with your Social Security Disability application and hearing process, Schott Law is here for you. Maggie Schott is an SSDI & SSI lawyer serving Washington and Idaho. Contact us now at (509) 328-5789 to start your application.