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Filing for disability based on Borderline Personality Disorder

There is a qualifying listing in the Social Security Administration's impairment listing book (the blue book) that addresses borderline personality disorder. This is listing 12.08, titled, appropriately, Personality Disorders.

The SSA impairment manual describes personality disorders as conditions that exist when personality traits can be characterized as inflexible and maladaptive, and can be shown to impair an individual's functioning, both socially and as regards one's employability.

To satisfy the requirements of this listing (and be approved for disability on the basis of meeting this listing), a claimant's medical records must show behavior patterns that are maladaptive and that are associated with at least one of the following:

1. Seclusiveness or autistic thinking

2. Suspiciousness or hostility, to the degree that this can be considered to be pathologically inappropriate.

3. Oddities in the areas of verbalization, thoughts, behaviors, or perceptions.

4. A persistent occurrence of mood disturbance or disturbance of affect.

5. Dependence, passiveness, or aggressiveness, to a pathological degree.

6. Behavior that is damaging and impulsive.

7. Unstable and intense personal relationships.

To meet the Personality disorders listing, a claimant's medical records must also show at least two of the following:

1. A marked level of restriction in ADLs, or activities of daily living.

2. A marked level of difficulty in the area of maintaining social functioning.

3. Problems in maintaining concentration, persistance, or pace, to a marked degree.

4. A history of decompensatory episodes, each having some duration (the manual simply says "extended" duration.

Without question, to be approved for disability on the basis of the Personality Disorder listing, a claimant must have solid medical record documentation. This will typically mean a substantial history of psychiatric treatment provided by a psychiatrist whose treatment notes are clear when it comes to indicating the claimant's symptomology and the claimant's functional limitations in the areas of A) activities of daily living, B) social functioning, and C) attention (concentration, persistance, or pace).

Can a claimant who has borderline personality disorder be approved for disability if their records do not manage to satisfy the requirements of the Personality Disorder listing? Yes, by receiving a medical vocational allowance which is, in fact, how most disability applicants are approved for benefits.


How Social Security decides claims and makes decisions

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

How to find out if a disability claim has been approved or denied?
Tips for Getting Disability Approved When you File
Getting approved for disability and the approval process
Can you be approved for disability without a hearing?
Does Social Security Disability approve you the first time you file?

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

Disability qualifications - Who will qualify is based on functional limitations
What do you Need to Prove to Qualify for Disability Benefits?
How to file for disability and the information needed by Social Security
What conditions do they Award Disability Benefits for?
How does back pay for Social Security disability work?
What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI? Part I
To get a Social Security Disability or SSI Award do you have to have a Permanent Disability?
Social Security Disability Status - when should I call to check
Do Lawyers Improve The Chances of Winning Social Security Disability or SSI?
What is qualifying for disability based on?
How to qualify for disability - The Process of Qualifying for Benefits
Receiving a Social Security Disability Award Letter
How long does it take to get disability?
Filing and applying for disability in Texas