Can You Get Disability for Borderline Personality Disorder?

Mental illness is common in the United States, affecting the emotional well-being of individuals who suffer from it. Those who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder may find that symptoms make it difficult to live and function normally. 

For example, borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that impacts the way people think and feel about themselves and those around them. People with BPD often experience self-image issues, difficulty regulating emotions and controlling behavior, and a history of unstable relationships. 

Many individuals diagnosed with BPD are intensely afraid of abandonment or of being alone. When a medical condition hinders your ability to work and function, you may be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits

According to the National Institute of Mental Health data, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. are suffering from one or more mental illnesses. The symptoms of each individual vary. Approval of a claim for disability benefits may depend on the severity of the condition. Continue reading to discover how you can successfully apply for and obtain BPD disability benefits. 

Borderline Personality Disorder and Symptoms

Before discussing monetary benefits provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA), you should understand how medical conditions and symptoms are considered when determining eligibility for benefits. A borderline personality disorder is a mental health condition that impacts an individual’s thinking. It often affects the mood, behavior, and self-image of an individual. 

In severe conditions, the symptoms include impulsivity, poor decision-making abilities, and can impair relationships. This may affect their quality of life and ability to function normally in society. 

Some common symptoms that people suffering from this condition experience include: 

  • Extreme anger 
  • Difficulties in controlling mood
  • Feeling terrified of being abandoned by friends and family members
  • Impulsive behaviors such as unsafe driving, binge eating, or risky sexual activity 
  • Anxiety issues
  • Self-harming behaviors and suicidal thoughts
  • Paranoid thoughts
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Rapid changes in interests and values
  • Symptoms of Depression like feelings of dissociation, a feeling of emptiness and loneliness, unstable self-image, etc.

Diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder

In general, mental health disorders are difficult to diagnose because the symptoms affect an individual’s subjective well-being. Moreover, BPD often occurs along with other mental health conditions, which can be critical for an individual’s life. A psychological evaluation will be required to properly evaluate and document all symptoms experienced by an individual. 

Some people may be genetically predisposed to this disorder. Others may develop BPD due to environmental conditions. For example, research has shown that individuals who experienced trauma and abuse in their childhood may be more prone to mental health conditions like BPD. 


Treatment for personality disorder disability typically includes some form of psychotherapy. Doctors may recommend medications or other interventions to treat BPD. There is not a one-size-fits-all cure for this condition. Treatment is often designed to help people with BPD manage and cope with their symptoms.

Individuals experiencing fewer symptoms can be treated with medications and psychotherapy. In severe cases, hospitalization and intensive psychiatric treatment may be required. 

Is Borderline Personality Disorder a Disability?

In severe cases, it may be difficult for families to look after an individual diagnosed with BPD. They may not be able to afford substantial hospital bills and may have to leave employment to look after the patient. 

The Social Security Administration provides financial assistance to individuals dealing with severe medical conditions. Borderline Personality Disorder is recognized as a disability in the Blue Book by SSA. The Blue Book is the SSA’s regulatory listing of medical conditions recognized as disabling. 

BPD Disability Benefits

Therefore, people with BPD can seek disability benefits when they have symptoms that meet the condition’s listing in the Blue Book. An applicant can either apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) based on the eligibility requirements. 

The Blue Book includes the condition of Borderline Personality Disorder. An applicant should provide proof that they are suffering from the condition by submitting relevant medical records. Medical documentation will be necessary to meet the eligibility criteria for benefits. Medical documents play a crucial role in the decision process. Applicants should ensure that they have all relevant records available. 

There are two ways to be determined eligible for disability benefits due to BPD.

  1. Meeting the medical listing criteria in the Blue Book
  2. Demonstrate an inability to work based on a Residual Functional Capacity analysis.
  1. Meeting a Medical Listing 

One of the easiest ways to receive approval for SSDI or SSI is by meeting the medical listing criteria. There are various conditions and symptoms listed in the Blue Book for BPD. 

An individual must experience the symptoms as described by the listing and must have medical records to prove the condition. 

An individual must be diagnosed with a personality disorder while experiencing some of the following conditions: 

  • Feeling dissociated or detached from all social relationships
  • Feeling inadequate
  • Impulsive and aggressive behaviors
  • Excessive emotional behavior
  • Attention-seeking behavior
  • Unstable relationships resulting in impulsive and aggressive behaviors
  • Need to be taken care of

In addition to experiencing the symptoms above, an applicant must demonstrate limitations in the following areas: 

  • Limitation in adapting or managing oneself
  • Facing challenges in interacting with others and accepting criticism
  • Limitations in understanding and remembering any information
  • Unable to concentrate and complete the tasks

The criteria above are not intended to be an exact representation of the Blue Book criteria. Rather it is intended to inform the reader of the kinds of symptoms and limitations an applicant must demonstrate in his or her medical records. An individual must have medical evidence and psychological testing to prove the symptoms mentioned above. One should keep a record of all medical treatment and prescriptions to treat BPD. A knowledgeable disability attorney can help assess your condition to determine whether you have sufficient evidence to meet the Blue Book listing. 

The Social Security Administration will ideally review the medical documentation provided and decide benefit eligibility. 

  1. Residual Functional Capacity Assessment 

Another way to be approved for personality disability benefits is by showing that you are unable to work, regardless of whether you meet the Blue Book criteria. The SSA will undergo a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) analysis to determine whether you are capable of continued or alternative vocation. 

The assessment will factor in the mental health limitations that an individual experiences because of their condition. Lack of emotional control, anger problems, loneliness, or depressed symptoms should be listed on the RFC form. 

The Social Security Administration will then evaluate your condition based on medical records and symptoms. If you are suffering from any other condition, you should include that on the form as well. It will increase your chances of being approved for benefits. 

Medical Records Proving Your Disability

Having strong medical documentation to prove the ailment can ease the Disability Appeal Process and help you win the claim without facing denials. An applicant should include the following medical records to prove the condition: 

  • Mental status examinations
  • Records from psychologists, counselors, therapists, and psychiatrist 
  • Hospital and emergency room visit records
  • Pharmacy and prescription records
  • Neuropsychology testing
  • Personality testing

One should ensure that they have complete records and treatment history before commencing the application. Having complete medical evidence and records demonstrating your mental disability increases the chances of being approved. When you do not have complete records, your application may take a long time and there is a chance it could be denied for lack of documentation. 

Lack of records or an incomplete application are two common mistakes many applicants make. Therefore, it is helpful to ensure that you have all details and documents with you before starting the process. You can start the process online or you can visit the Social Security Office.

Legal Assistance Can Make the Process Easier

You should first try to meet the medical listing criteria to get approved for SSDI. To get SSI for BPD, you must also provide documentation of your financial limitations. If you have resources or can continue to earn a living, the chances of being approved are low. You should ensure that your overall income falls within limits to get approved for SSI disability benefits. 

To ease the legal process, you can consult with a San Antonio Social Security Disability Lawyer to discuss your concerns. They will assist you in the best possible way and explain how to substantiate your claim for benefits.