Personality Disorders

Massachusetts Lawyers Assisting Social Security Claimants

Personality disorders can result in behavioral and mental responses to various situations that can significantly impede an individual’s ability to work . At Kantrovitz & Associates, our Social Security attorneys understand the debilitating effect that personality disorders can have on the lives of those diagnosed with them. Serving clients throughout Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, we have the knowledge and skill to help you prepare an application for SSDI that adequately documents the impact that these symptoms have on your life.

Filing an SSDI Application Based on a Personality Disorder

The Social Security Administration (SSA) currently recognizes a personality disorder as an impairment that can rise to the level of a disability in Section 12.08 of its Listings. Although the SSA defines these conditions only generally, noting that they exist where an individual has personality traits that are “inflexible and maladaptive,” applicants can successfully obtain SSDI benefits for a wide range of personality disorders.

Under Section 12.08, individuals diagnosed with a personality disorder must show that it has significantly impaired their long-term occupational functioning. The disorder must have prevented them from working for at least 12 months. To meet the additional specific requirements of the Listing, the applicant must show that he or she has experienced deeply ingrained, maladaptive patterns of behavior associated with seclusion or autistic behaviors, inappropriate suspicion or hostility, oddities of thought, perception, speech and behavior, consistent disturbances of mood, pathological dependence, passivity or aggression, or intense and unstable relationships and impulsive behaviors. Additionally, these maladaptive patterns of behavior must have resulted in at least two of the following:

  • Significant restrictions on daily activities;
  • Marked difficulties in maintaining social relationships;
  • Marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence or pace; and
  • Repeated episodes of significant worsening of symptoms, known as episodes of decompensation.

If you believe that your personality disorder meets the requirements of Section 12.08, the first step in your application process will be compiling the necessary medical documentation to support this assertion. This may include hospital records or doctor’s notes detailing periods of treatment, records demonstrating that your disorder has not responded to medical care, and extensive testimony from your physicians, coworkers, and others who know you about how your condition has impaired your daily activities and your ability to hold a job. SSDI applications can be complicated, and the best approach is typically to provide as much documentation as possible. A qualified disability attorney can help you to make sure that your application adequately addresses all the requirements of Section 12.08.

Even if you are unsure whether you can meet the Listing requirements set forth in Section 12.08, you may also apply for SSDI benefits by showing that the unique symptoms and conditions of your personality disorder prevent you from working. Under this approach, the SSA will evaluate your application by determining your residual functional capacity (RFC). Through an RFC assessment, your documented limitations and symptoms will be considered and compared against jobs currently available in the national economy. If your personality disorder so limits your ability to work as to prevent you from doing any type of work, the SSA may grant you SSDI benefits. However, it is difficult to meet this standard because an extremely vast range of occupations exists in the United States.

Consult a Massachusetts Lawyer to Seek Disability Benefits

If you or a loved one is suffering from a personality disorder that has significantly impaired your ability to work, you may be eligible for SSDI assistance. The application process, however, can be cumbersome and confusing. At Kantrovitz & Associates, our disability benefits attorneys have over two decades of experience helping Massachusetts individuals with severe personality disorders pursue the assistance they deserve. From our office in Boston, we serve individuals throughout Norfolk, Plymouth, Essex, Middlesex, and Suffolk Counties, as well as the Merrimack River area. For more information, contact us at (800) 367-0871 or online.