Many people do not understand just how complex a plumber's job really is. These professionals do far more than just unclog drains and install new faucets. Plumbers are in charge of the installation and maintenance of numerous piping systems. From residential properties to commercial establishments, from power plants to waste disposal facilities, plumbers are relied upon to make the piping that is in and around a building work properly.
A career as a plumber requires a great deal of training and, in most cases, years of apprenticeship. The exact level of work skills required to perform job duties as a plumber really depends on the type of plumbing a professional specializes in. Plumbers, steamfitters, pipefitters and pipe layers are all different types of plumbing professionals, and some occupations are more hazardous than others.
Plumbers face a variety of risks when going to work each and every day. Falling pipes, explosions, equipment malfunctions and other potential accidents all play a part in a plumber's chances of becoming disabled. When a plumber faces a disability that affects their ability to perform their job, they may be able to get disability benefits to alleviate some financial stress.
Working with a Disability as a Plumber
While many people assume that plumbing is “blue collar” work and, therefore, is not highly-skilled, this is anything but the case. Plumbers are highly-trained, highly-skilled individuals who provide valuable services that keep our nation running. Because the skills needed to be a plumber are very occupation-specific, it may be easier for these individuals to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits should a long-term or permanent disability arise.
If a plumber faces a long-term or permanent disability, they may have a very hard time adjusting to a different type of occupation. For example, a disability that places certain physical limitations on a plumber can make his or her job duties absolutely impossible, whereas an administrative assistant may still be able to perform their duties with the very same disability. However, adjusting from a career as a plumber to an administrative assistant is nearly impossible for most plumbers and is not a realistic expectation. The plumber would have no skills that would transfer over to the new career, making it unreasonable to expect the individual to attempt such a change.
Because it can be hard for plumbers to find less taxing work outside of the plumbing industry, these professionals should apply for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as a disability occurs. It is important to understand, however, that the initial claim for Social Security Disability benefits may be denied. In fact, nearly 70 percent of applications are denied by the Social Security Administration during the initial stage of the disability application process. These applicants must then go on to appeal the SSA's decision to deny benefits, which is a process that can take some plumbers more than two years to complete.
Applying for Social Security Disability as a Plumber
When a plumber applies for Social Security Disability benefits, the Social Security Administration will take a number of factors into account when deciding whether to approve or deny the claim. The age of the applicant will be considered, since the younger an applicant is the more likely it will be that they can adjust to a new line of work that their disability would not interfere with. The plumber's residual functional work capacity will also be evaluated to determine whether or not there is any other type of work that can be performed by the applicant. If the SSA determines that you can be trained to perform other types of work in the national economy, you will not be approved for Social Security Disability benefits.
If you feel that your disability is preventing you from performing any type of work activity whatsoever, you may want to consider working with a Social Security Disability attorney. These professionals may increase your chances of being awarded benefits during the initial stage of the disability claim process. Your advocate or attorney will help you in the preparation of your disability claim and will ensure that the adjudicator reviewing your file understands why you are unable to work in any regard due to your disabling condition. For example, your attorney or advocate may explain that your skills as a plumber cannot transfer to any other job in the national economy and that your disability prevents you from performing any of the jobs that you are qualified to do. They may hire a vocational expert to testify that training for a new job would be impossible and that your residual functional work capacity limits your ability to perform any work at all. Your advocate or attorney will utilize every possible resource to prove your case to the Social Security Administration.