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Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a medical condition for which SSD benefits are available if you cannot work for more than 12 months due to your condition. To determine if the SSA can pay you benefits for BPD, the SSA will look at all of your symptoms and see if they meet Listing 12.08.

Borderline Personality Disorder is a mental condition with negative patterns of behavior. The disease usually begins in the childhood or teen years. Symptoms may include being unable to trust others and odd beliefs. For example, you may think people are talking about you. Also, you may experience mood swings and anger. Symptoms like these will cause trouble working with others.

One of the most common symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder is social distance from others. For example, you may avoid family parties or have very few friends. You may also be overly sensitive to what other say. Other issues include an extreme need to be taken care of and trouble making independent decisions.

While individuals with BPD may experience a range of symptoms, it is common to have intense emotions and impulsive behavior. Additionally, you may have trouble getting along with other workers or your boss.


There are other possible symptoms of BPD. Not all people who have the condition experience these symptoms, but they may have some or all of the below symptoms.

  1. Distorted Self Image: Those with BPD often have an unclear sense of self. They can experience trouble with their identity.
  2. Impulsive Behavior: Impulsive behavior is a common trait in BPD. This can be seen with spending too much money, alcohol and drug abuse, or risky sexual activity. These behaviors are often attempts to control intense emotions or to avoid feelings.
  3. Suicidal Tendencies: Many individuals with BPD engage in harmful behaviors, such as cutting or burning themselves. They do this to cope with emotional pain. They may also have thoughts of suicide or have acted on those thoughts.
  4. Lack of Purpose: People with BPD report often struggle with a lack of meaning or purpose in their lives.
  5. Fear of Abandonment: Individuals with BPD often have an intense fear of being abandoned by others. This fear can lead to the need to control others in relationships.


The exact cause of BPD is not known. Research suggests that BPD may be linked to genes. Meaning that some people may be more likely to develop the condition due to certain genes.

Additionally, trauma in childhood, such as abuse or neglect, may increase the risk of getting BPD later in life. Other factors, such as difficult relationships or a chaotic home environment, may also cause the condition.

There have been research studies about the causes of BPD. For example:

  • Twin and family studies: These studies have found evidence that BPD has a genetic element, as individuals with a family history of BPD are more likely to develop the condition.
  • Neuroimaging studies: These studies have found that people with BPD have differences in brain structure compared to those without the condition. Specifically, areas of the brain involved in emotion may be affected in those with BPD.
  • Childhood trauma studies: These studies have found that individuals who experienced abuse, neglect, or trauma in childhood are more likely to develop BPD.
  • Environmental studies: These studies have found that factors such as difficult relationships, a chaotic home life, and a lack of social support may cause the development of BPD.


People with Borderline Personality Disorder can have extreme anger. BPD can also cause anger that is grossly out of line with the situation you are in. For example, you may have lost your temper at your boss or other workers. Or perhaps you have terrible fights with your spouse.

Other examples might be road rage that results in you getting out of your car in order to pound on someone else’s car. Or, for example, you might chase another driver in your car because you are angry. Likewise, you may think you are the only person at work who can do the job right. Perhaps you threaten other employees when you think they are not doing a good job? These are extreme examples of anger. Do any of these examples sound like you?

Examples of mental conditions in this category include paranoid, schizoid, and borderline personality conditions. It also includes other mental issues. For example, these are avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive personality disorders, and intermittent explosive disorder.

Obviously, there are many types of mental conditions. Most of the symptoms of these conditions involve trouble getting along with others. For purposes of Social Security benefits, it is best to focus on the serious symptoms of the condition. A list of the possible symptoms are found below.

social security disability for borderline personality disorder


The SSA looks at Borderline Personality Disorder using listing 12.08. The following is a copy of the listing from the SSA’s “blue book.” (SSA’s listing used to come in a book with a blue cover.) In order to meet listing 12.08, you will need to meet the following rules:

12.08 Personality and impulse control conditions, satisfied by A and B:

  1. Medical records of a pervasive pattern of one or more of the following:
    1. Distrust of others;
    2. Detachment from social relationships;
    3. Disregard for the rights of others;
    4. Instability of relationships;
    5. Excessive emotion and attention seeking;
    6. Feeling of inadequacy;
    7. Excessive need to be taken care of;
    8. Preoccupation with perfection and order; or
    9. Recurrent, impulsive, aggressive behavioral outbursts.


  1. Extreme limit of one, or marked limit of two, of the following areas of mental function:
    1. Understand, remember, or apply information.
    2. Interact with others.
    3. Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace.
    4. Adapt or manage oneself.

This list of symptoms may not contain all of your mental issues. However, even if it contains some of your symptoms, you should make sure to have your treating doctor write about these symptoms in his or her progress notes.

Progress notes are the notes a doctor makes when you visit their office. The progress notes from the doctor should report your symptoms. However, if you fail to report your symptoms to your doctor, then they won’t appear in the progress notes. Additionally, you will not get the treatment you need for your BPD.


The SSA rates how severe your symptoms are under the Part B rules. In order to win benefits for borderline personality, you will need to prove two marked or one extreme element under Part B .


Under Part B, the SSA is looking to see whether your symptoms are severe enough to keep you from working. First, you will need a marked limits in you ability to understand, remember, and apply information. This refers to having a serious limits in the ability to learn, recall, and use information at work. For example, this includes serious limits in the following:

  • understand and remember instructions and procedures
  • following one or two step instructions in order to perform a task
  • identify and solve problems
  • recognize a mistake and correct it
  • asking questions of fellow workers and your boss, and
  • using reason and judgment to make decisions at work


Second, the Part B looks at your ability to deal with others. For instance, this means serious limits in your ability to relate to and work with others. By others, they mean your boss, other workers,  and the public.  If you have trouble getting along, then you may have problems with:

  • handling conflicts with others
  • asking for help when needed
  • sustain conversation with others at work
  • understanding social cues, such as verbal or emotional cues of others
  • being able to respond to criticism from your boss
  • keeping social dealings free of problems
  • get along with other workers


There is also, under Part B, the issue of being able to concentrate, persist, or maintain pace. While this may seem like common sense, at work an employee must be able to complete tasks. Also, you must be able to follow instructions. If you are unable to do this because of BPD, then you cannot sustain a 40 hour work week. You must be able to:

  • finish tasks
  • persist on a work task if there is a problem, instead of giving up
  • maintain a required pace, one that is set by the work standard
  • being able to focus on assigned projects
  • work at a reasonable production rate


Finally, you need a marked limit in your ability to adapt and manage yourself. This refers to being seriously limited in the ability to control your emotions and personal behavior. For instance, this includes the ability to:

  • respond to demands
  • adapt to changes
  • manage mental symptoms
  • know the difference between good and poor work performance
  • set goals
  • make plans for yourself without the help of others
  • maintain personal hygiene and attire appropriate to a work setting, and
  • be aware of normal hazards and take appropriate safety steps


Borderline personality is usually treated with therapy. However, medication may also be given to you by your doctor. If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may send you to the hospital. Especially, if you are at risk of  hurting yourself or others or at risk of suicide. It is important to follow the advice of your doctor and get treatment for your mental health condition. One of the things that the SSA looks for is whether or not you are trying to do everything you can to cure of reduce the symptoms of your mental health condition.


Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder can help you learn skills to manage your mental condition. Psychotherapy is one tool you can use. This is often called “talk therapy.” In talk therapy, you meet with a counselor on a weekly or monthly basis. Your counselor can teach you emotional tools to to help you manage your emotions.

Likewise, your counselor can help you recognize that emotions come and go. If you feel uncomfortable with your emotions, you can examine that and learn to control it.  You can also learn how to work on your relationships with other people.

Here are two types of “talk therapy” that can help you with your condition:

  • Mentalization-based therapy (MBT). MBT is a type of talk therapy that helps you identify your own thoughts and feelings at any given moment and create another perspective on your situation.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT includes group and individual therapy designed specifically to treat BPD. DBT uses a skill based approach to teach you how to manage your emotions, handle stress and improve relationships.

The goal of all talk therapy and other forms of treatment, like medications, is to help you feel better and learn to handle your mental symptoms so you can have a better life.


One of the other good things about mental health treatment is that if you have other conditions, such as anxiety, then you can get treatment for that too. On this website, we have free and low cost treatment options in Utah. We also have a list of low cost and free mental health options in Nevada. Read here, if you need to learn more about depression and SSD benefits. Likewise, read here if you need to learn more about Bipolar Disorder.  We also have  information on our website about anxiety.

Another treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder is medication. Talk to your doctor about whether medications are a good option for you. Also, make sure you talk to your doctor about the effects of medications. For example, will the medication cause fatigue or symptoms? With talk therapy and medication treatment, you can feel better and live a happier life.

If you or someone you know with Borderline Personality Disorder is thinking of harming themselves or attempting suicide, they need help right away. Do not wait. They are in crisis and there is help.

Call the toll free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to everyone. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.


At our law firm, we can help you apply for SSD and SSI benefits if you have borderline personality disorder. There are many forms to complete when you first apply for benefits. We want to make sure you complete the forms properly. Also, we can help you submit your application. Or, if you prefer you can file your own application online at Social Security’s website.

Additionally, if you can’t apply online, you can apply by calling the SSA’s number, 1-800-772-1213. Or you can schedule an appointment at the local SSA office near you. Then, you can apply in person. However, if you have Borderline Personality Disorder or other mental conditions, you may need help filing for benefits.

If you need help with the application process, contact the experts at Cannon Disability Law to help you apply. We recommend filing for benefits through your SSD attorney. Your lawyer will make sure that your application is complete.

Additionally, your lawyer can submit your medical records. She can also submit other important information. Of course, you can also apply without legal assistance. Some people prefer to apply on their own. Then, if they receive a denial they hire an attorney.

While many people do this, we do not think it is the best course of action. The SSA is looking for particular information to see if they can pay you benefits. Why not start with hiring a lawyer? The lawyer can submit your information for you. This may shorten the waiting time for a decision. However, even if you hire a lawyer to help submit your application, you may still receive a denial. Most people receive a denial after the initial application. Do not give up.  Additionally, if you receive a denial, make sure you file a timely appeal.

Borderline Personality Disorder. Helthcare conceptual image. 3D rendering. Neon bulb illumination


If the SSA sent you a denial, you have 60 days to appeal the denial. Make sure you file a timely appeal. Do not miss the time limit. We can also help you appeal a denial from the SSA. Whether it is a denial at the initial or next level, we will answer your questions. Contact us so that we can help you win your benefits. Put the legal experience of our team to work for you.

If you receive a denial at the second stage, then it is time to request a hearing. You will also only have 60 days from the receipt of the denial to send in your request for hearing to the local Social Security office near you. There is an address in the denial that tells you where to send your request for hearing. You can also request a hearing online.

If you hire us as your Social Security lawyers, we will send the request for hearing to the SSA for you. If you send it in yourself, always keep a copy of what you sent to the SSA. It is not unusual for the SSA to lose paperwork. Therefore, if you have a copy of what you sent, then you can always prove you sent it to the SSA on time.

If necessary, we can also appeal your case to the Appeals Council. Additionally, we file appeals in Federal Court. Our advice is to appeal any denial you receive. Finally, we can represent you no matter where you live. For example, we can represent you if need a Social Security attorney in Utah or Nevada. Also, we can help you if you live in Idaho, Colorado, or California. Give us a call today.


You do not need to apply for SSDI and SSI benefits by yourself. You can always call our law firm and we will help you win SSI benefits. There is no charge to call us. We can help you file your SSI application. Also, we can help you appeal every SSA denial. For example, our attorneys and staff can:

If you file your application for benefits online at Social Security’s website, then you have 6 months to complete the application. Once you submit your application online, the SSA sends you an application summary in the mail. You must sign the summary and mail it back. If you don’t send it back, the SSA will not process your application. Sign it and send it back as soon as you can.


What will it cost you if you don’t hire a lawyer with the legal experience to win your benefits? For example, if you win benefits at 50 years old, then you will be paid for the next 17 years. You may also win two of years of past due benefits. On the line, if you are 50 years old, is 19 years of SSD payments.

Nineteen years is is 228 months. At $1200 a month (which is a lower than average monthly benefit amount), that is $273,600. Additionally, you will win a higher retirement benefit after the age of 67. Let’s say the average higher retirement benefit is $300 a month and you live to be 90 years old. That is another $82,800.

It costs 25% of your back benefit OR $7200 from your back benefit to pay your attorney fee. You pay us whatever is less and only if you win. If you win benefits, then your attorney has just won you $356,400, plus early Medicare benefits. You attorney will be paid $7200 and you will be paid $349,200.

All attorneys charge the same fee. So, you can go it alone and not hire an attorney, but chances are you will lose $356,400. Or, you can hire an attorney with over 30 years of experience. If you win benefits, then you will pay $7200. However, you will also win $349,200. The choice is yours. Hopefully, you can see that the cost of a lawyer with over 30 years of legal experience is well worth it.


We will use our legal skills to help you through the SSA appeal process. It is our goal to win your BPD benefits. But, it also our goal to make filing for SSD benefits easier for you. We offer a free review of your case. If you call, then there is no pressure to become a client. You can simply ask questions. We will answer. Even if we don’t accept your case, we will still try to help you.

It also doesn’t cost you any upfront money to hire us. Why? Because you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. If we win your benefits, then you pay us out of your past due payment. If you do not win, you do not pay an attorney fee.

How much is the fee? It is 25% of your back benefit. But, there is a fee cap set at $7200 by the SSA.  You never pay more than the fee cap at the hearing stage of your case. And, 25% of your back benefit is usually less than the $7200 cap. You will pay whatever is the lesser amount and only if we win the case. Therefore, you have nothing to lose by hiring the best SSD attorney to help you.


In order to hire Cannon Disability Law, all you need to do is call us. We offer a free review of your case. And, it doesn’t cost anything to call us.  Better yet, it also doesn’t cost you any upfront money to hire us. Why? Because you only pay us an attorney fee if we win your case. This means if we win your SSD case, you pay the attorney fee out of your back benefits. If you do not win, there is no attorney fee to pay.

We help you prove your mental condition to the SSA. Our goal is to develop your case, so your medical records show the SSA you have a severe mental condition. Symptoms from BPD can prevent you from working. Learn more about the mental ability you must have to perform simple work.

We need to prove that your Borderline Personality Disorder meets Listing 12.08. Our legal team works hard to prepare your case, because we know you need benefits to replace your income. When you are looking for a legal team, hire a firm who has the experience you need. Also, hire a team with a proven record. Contact us today for a free review of your case.


Additionally, you can find out more about your legal team on our About Us page. For example, Dianna Cannon has been helping clients win their benefits for over 30 years. She is admitted to practice in Utah, California, and Nevada. Learn more information here about Nevada SSDI and SSI benefits. Also, learn about California SSI benefits.

Brett Bunkall has won hundreds of Social Security cases in Utah, Idaho and California. Andria Summers has over 20 years of experience helping our clients win benefits. Our lawyers and staff know the law. Together, we have won over $100 million in ongoing and past due benefits for our clients. Contact us today to hire a Social Security attorney with experience. Legal experience wins SSD & SSI benefits for borderline personality disorder.

While we have won many SSDI and SSI cases, we think there are other reasons to hire us. For example, it is also our goal to make the benefits process easier for you. You shouldn’t have to worry about every detail. Your job should be to get treatment from your doctor and take care of yourself. Let us do the rest.

Don’t go to court without an excellent attorney. Your future income, for yourself and your family, is at stake. You need to hire a firm that is on your side. After all, you paid for your benefits. They are not a handout. The benefits are there for you when you cannot work. We want to help you win the Social Security benefits you deserve for BPD. Contact us today.

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