Mental: Borderline Personality Disorder

Personality disorders are tricky when it comes to getting disability benefits.  The reason is that often people who have personality disorders do not acknowledge that their personality disorder is their primary problem, even if they have been told as much by a mental health care provider.  In other words, if you are reading this that is probably a good sign you do not have a severe personality disorder.  A personality disorder is a pervasive and persistent maladaptive set of personality characteristics that causes serious disruption in person’s life.  There are several types of personality disorder such as borderline, dependent, schizoid, paranoid or narcissistic.  Each has its own symptoms and characteristics, and each can be severe enough to prevent a person from being able to work.

Personality disorders are notoriously difficult to treat.  If you have been diagnosed with a personality disorder by a mental health care provider, it is critical to your disability case that you try to seek treatment for your problem.  Often this treatment involves intensive counseling, and you might not feel like that’s what you need.  However, It is also very important you are compliant with the treatment recommended by your mental health care providers.  Be aware that non compliance with recommended treatment could negatively affect your claim unless we are able to get your psychiatrist to acknowledge that this is symptomatic of your condition.

Even if your condition is not severe enough to be considered disabled by itself, the symptoms of your condition could be considered disabling in combination with your other physical and emotional problems.  The Social Security Administration’s listing of impairments has rules that define how severe your condition needs to be for you to be considered disabled on the basis of your personality disorder alone.

12.08 Personality disorders: A personality disorder exists when personality traits are inflexible and maladaptive and cause either significant impairment in social or occupational functioning or subjective distress. Characteristic features are typical of the individual’s long-term functioning and are not limited to discrete episodes of illness.

The required level of severity for these disorders is met when the requirements in both A and B are satisfied.

  1. Deeply ingrained, maladaptive patterns of behavior associated with one of the following:
  2. Seclusiveness or autistic thinking; or
  3. Pathologically inappropriate suspiciousness or hostility; or
  4. Oddities of thought, perception, speech and behavior; or
  5. Persistent disturbances of mood or affect; or
  6. Pathological dependence, passivity, or aggressivity; or
  7. Intense and unstable interpersonal relationships and impulsive and damaging behavior;


  1. Resulting in at least two of the following:
  2. Marked restriction of activities of daily living; or
  3. Marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning; or
  4. Marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; or
  5. Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.

12.09 Substance addiction disorders: Behavioral changes or physical changes associated with the regular use of substances that affect the central nervous system.

The required level of severity for these disorders is met when the requirements in any of the following (A through I) are satisfied.

  1. Organic mental disorders. Evaluate under 12.02.
  2. Depressive syndrome. Evaluate under 12.04.
  3. Anxiety disorders. Evaluate under 12.06.
  4. Personality disorders. Evaluate under 12.08.
  5. Peripheral neuropathies. Evaluate under 11.14.
  6. Liver damage. Evaluate under 5.05.
  7. Gastritis. Evaluate under 5.00.
  8. Pancreatitis. Evaluate under 5.08.

I. Seizures. Evaluate under 11.02 or 11.03.

We serve clients throughout the Carolinas from our offices in Spartanburg, Greenville, and Columbia.