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Borderline Personality Disorder and SSA Disability

If you have a severe borderline personality disorder you may be considered disabled if you can prove that your condition either meets or exceeds a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments which means your health condition is listed in the Social Security Administration’s (SSA)

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is an emotional disorder which affects a claimant’s personal views of themselves, how they relate to others and their actions. It is not unusual for claimants with this condition to exhibit:

The behaviors and actions are not generally limited to a single episode but are characteristic of a claimant’s long-term functioning.

Meeting a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments for Borderline Personality Disorder


The Social Security Administration (SSA) does have a listing for borderline personality disorder. It is found under 12.00 Mental Disorders, Section 12.08 Personality Disorders. According to the SSA, “The borderline personality disorder exists when personality traits are inflexible and maladaptive and cause either significant impairment in social or occupational functioning or subjective distress.”

The Social Security Administration is looking for the following “deeply ingrained, maladaptive patterns of behavior” associated with the following traits:

According to the SSA each of these characteristics should result in marked restriction of the claimant’s activities of daily living, maintaining social functioning or concentration, persistence, or pace, or repeated episodes of decompensation.

Winning benefits for personality disorder through a medical vocational allowance


It is not unusual for claimants with a severe personality disorder to have difficulty maintaining personal relationships and employment. Claimants may display poor impulse control and anger, making it difficult to get along with co-workers and bosses. Claimants may get fired often or move from job to job.

If you have this condition and your condition does not “meet or exceed a listing,” for you to win SSI or SSDI benefits you must prove that you no longer have the functional capacity to work. This is done through a medical vocational allowance.

To prove that you cannot work the SSA would expect that you are getting proper medical treatment from a mental health specialist and that you are following their treatment plan. You would need good medical evidence that your condition is severe, expected to last 12 continuous months, and does not allow you to work.

Additional evidence of depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, evidence of self-injury or suicide may also help substantiate your claim that you cannot work. Claimants whose condition does not meet a listing may benefit from discussing their SSI or SSDI case with a disability lawyer.
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