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Can I Get Social Security Disability if I Used to Work as a Pipefitter?

Disability Benefits for Pipe Fitters

Pipe fitters, also referred to as steamfitters, are professionals who are responsible for laying out, assembling and fabricating piping systems. These individuals are also responsible for maintaining and repairing such systems as necessary. Pipe fitters undergo formal training and apprenticeships that provide them with a clear understanding of how to install low and high-pressure boilers, boiler piping, water feeders, steam piping and other piping systems.

Pipe fitters work with a variety of materials including carbon steel, stainless steel and a variety of alloy metals that are fused together by cutting, threading, grooving, bending and welding. Pipe fitters may also work with PVC and polyethylene. Most states require that these individuals be licensed, although the specific licensing requirements vary from state to state. In most cases, licensing requirements consist of a combination of formal classroom training and a specific time of apprentice or journeyman experience.

Pipe fitters face a number of dangers and challenges in their day-to-day work. There have been reports of some pipe fitters being exposed to asbestos. Others have suffered serious injuries due to falls. Working with high-steam piping systems also poses certain risks and the tools used and duties a pipe fitter must perform, such as welding, can be very dangerous.

Because pipe fitters face a number of dangers in their occupation, it is not uncommon for these professionals to suffer from an injury or illness that prevent them from carrying out their routine job responsibilities. When this happens, Social Security Disability benefits may be there to help.

Working with a Disability as a Pipe Fitter

Work as a pipe fitter is a physically taxing and stressful occupation. Individuals must be in good physical and mental health in order to carry out the duties of the job. If a pipe fitter suffers a long-term or permanent disability, he or she will be unable to continue with their current line of work. That does not mean, however, that they will be unable to work altogether.

In some cases a pipe fitter can be retrained to perform other jobs that are not as physically taxing. For example, some pipe fitters may be retrained into administrative roles, such as providing project estimates or billing statements. In certain situations, however, a disability is so severe that a pipe fitter is unable to work at all. In these cases, it is important that the disabled worker apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible.

Applying for Social Security Disability as a Pipe Fitter

When an individual files a claim for Social Security Disability benefits, there are a number of factors taken into consideration before an adjudicator can decide whether or not to approve the applicant's Social Security Disability claim. The SSA will be looking at your education, work history and age in addition to the severity of your disability. This is because the SSA is not concerned with whether or not you can simply continue working as a pipe fitter. Instead, they want to see if you are able to perform any type of work in the national economy. For example, if a steam explosion resulted in limited use of your hands, you could no longer perform work as a pipe fitter. However, you may be able to transfer your skills to another job in the national economy or you may be able to undergo training for a different career field.

How do you prove that your disability prevents you from performing any type of work whatsoever? This is where the application forms you fill out and your medical records will come into play. It is crucial that you complete the residual functional work capacity forms properly. You will need to prove to the Social Security Administration that you are not capable of any type of work whatsoever in order to be approved for Social Security Disability benefits, and this form will be an important part of this process. You will also need to provide complete copies of your medical records and treatment history in order to support your claim for benefits from the Social Security Administration.

If you want to increase your chances of being approved for Social Security Disability benefits during the initial stage of the application process, you may want to retain the services of a qualified disability attorney or advocate. These professionals know what the SSA looks for when approving a disability claim and can help you understand how your condition qualifies you for Social Security Disability benefits. They can also assist you in preparing your Social Security Disability application so that it can be presented to the SSA in the best light possible.

If your initial claim for Social Security Disability is denied, your attorney or advocate can help you through the complex disability appeal process. In most cases, an appeal will result in a hearing before an administrative law judge. Your attorney or advocate can provide you with proper representation at this hearing, increasing your chances of being awarded the disability benefits you may be entitled to.