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Borderline Personality Disorder and Social Security Disability

Although mental health disabilities are generally tricky to prove for purposes of obtaining Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits, borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of the most difficult. People who suffer from BPD frequently do not acknowledge their condition as problematic, even when a treating physician diagnoses them.

Personality disorders include a set of persistent, maladaptive, and disruptive personality characteristics. Along with borderline, types of personality disorders include schizoid, paranoid, dependent, and narcissistic, each with its own symptoms. BPD specifically is characterized by highly impulsive behaviors and significant emotional instability. People with BPD can demonstrate extreme personality changes in short periods of time.

Other common symptoms of BPD include rapid changes in values and interests, fear of being abandoned, intense and unstable relationships, antagonistic behavior, demonstrations of intense and inappropriate anger, and short and intense episodes of anxiety or depression. People who suffer from BPD often also suffer from bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, and/or anxiety disorders.

To qualify for disability benefits through Social Security on the basis of BPD, you need to either meet SSA’s Blue Book listing or demonstrate that your BPD makes it impossible for you to work. The latter is usually the result of uncontrolled, emotional outbursts that make it difficult to interact with others, which is a requirement for many jobs.

To meet the listing, you need a diagnosis of BPD from your treating physician and prove one of the following: detachment from social relationships; excessive emotionality and attention-seeking behavior; inappropriate suspiciousness or distrust of others; preoccupation with orderliness and perfectionism; feelings of inadequacy; excessive need to be taken care of; recurrent, impulsive, and aggressive behavioral outbursts; unstable personal relationships with impulsive, damaging behaviors; or disregard for and violation of others’ rights.

Additionally, you have to show either an extreme limitation in one area or a severe limitation in two areas as follows: adapting or managing yourself; concentrating on tasks; interacting with others; and learning, understanding, or remembering information.

To bolster your case, include doctor’s notes, statements from others who are close to you, a statement from you indicating how your BPD makes it difficult for you to work, and medical records that include mental status examinations, psychological testing, personality measures testing, and neuropsychology testing, if applicable.