Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a form of mental illness characterized by significant emotional instability, as well as impulsive behaviors. Those afflicted by BPD often have great difficulty controlling their emotions and frequently have abrupt personality changes.

Three wooden tiles have the letters B, P, and D on them in black lettering.

Most common symptoms of BPD

Those suffering from BPD will often have a number of the following, including:

  • Thinking in extremes, everything being either really bad or really good.
  • Frequent and wide mood swings.
  • A rapid change in interests and values.
  • An intense fear of being abandoned.
  • Having frequent intense but unstable relationships.
  • Frequent displays of intense and inappropriate anger.
  • Behavior sometimes leading to fights and disputes
  • An impulsiveness that sometimes leads to risky behavior.
  • Short but very intense feelings of depression or anxiety, usually lasting only a few days.

Beyond the symptoms, overlapping conditions

Approximately 85 percent of those suffering from BPD also have other mental conditions including:

Qualifying for Social Security disability benefits

Given these various symptoms and overlapping mental conditions, is borderline personality disorder a disability that qualifies you for benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA)?

The answer is yes, but as with many other illnesses and disorders, the requirements for qualifying for benefits are extremely stringent and not easily met. To qualify for benefits – either Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) – you must either meet a SSA listing or convince the SSA of your inability to work.

Meeting a Listing

To qualify for SSA disability benefits in this way you must show that you have medical documentation for one or more of the criteria for a medical listing found in section 12.08 of the SSA’s Blue Book. These include:

  • Distrust and suspiciousness of others
  • Detachment from social relationships
  • Disregard for and violation of the rights of others
  • Instability of interpersonal relationships
  • Excessive emotionality and attention seeking
  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • Excessive need to be taken care of
  • Preoccupation with perfection and orderliness
  • Recurrent, impulsive, aggressive behavioral outbursts

Additionally, an extreme limitation of one, or a marked limitation of two of these areas of mental functioning:

  • Understand, remember, or apply information
  • Interact with others
  • Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace
  • Adapt or manage oneself

Medical evidence

Your effort to secure disability benefits by meeting a Blue Book listing must be supported by substantial medical evidence that includes:

  • Medical records that include
    • Mental status examinations
    • Psychological testing
    • Personality measures testing and/or
    • Neuropsychology testing
  • A statement in your own words about how your BPD makes it difficult to work
  • Statements from others having close contact with you, including other health care workers, friends, and family members

It would also be helpful to provide the SSA with a history of your treatment over time.

Inability to Work

If you are not able to qualify for benefits by meeting the requirements for a listing under section 12.08 or the SSA’s Blue Book, you still might be eligible for benefits by showing that your BPD prevents you from performing any kind of job. In this situation, the SSA will conduct a residual functional capacity (RFC) evaluation.

The evaluation will consider your age, work history, and experience to see what job-related tasks if any, you can still perform. If your RFC establishes that you cannot do your previous work or other jobs because of BPD, you may be granted disability benefits.

Have you been denied Social Security in San Francisco?

Hopefully, you can see from this summary, that qualifying for Social Security disability benefits because of BPD is an extremely complicated and demanding process, and frankly, the odds are that your initial application will be denied.

Because of these realities, you should seek the assistance of an experienced disability claims attorney, and Patrick Kelly is that attorney. Patrick Kelly is a specialist in the field of disability law and has been in practice since 1976. During that time he has helped thousands of his fellow Californians file successful claims for benefits with the SSA and/or has provided invaluable assistance during their appeals process.

If you are about to submit a claim for disability benefits to the SSA or you’ve been denied benefits for Social Security disability in San Francisco or the surrounding areas of northern California, we urge you to contact the law office of Patrick Kelly for your initial free consultation.

There is no charge and no obligation for this first consultation. Attorney Patrick Kelly will evaluate your case, provide a straightforward assessment, and if he believes your situation warrants it, he will guide you through the application and/or appeals process.

Please do not hesitate. To secure the very best legal advice and assistance in pursuing your application for BPD Social Security disability benefits, contact the law office of attorney Patrick Kelly today.

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