ASSIST Is a Team of Highly Trained Advocates

ASSIST is a 501(c)3 non-profit. We work with people who are often homeless and/or living in poverty, assisting them in getting their Social Security benefits. Our individual application representation is different than most others as we are extremely proactive. Early claim intervention is the key to developing a thoroughly documented application that will dramatically increase the chances of a favorable decision at the earliest stage of the process.

At ASSIST we strive to get it right the first time!

Contact ASSIST

Mellani Calvin — Executive Director
4412 S. Barbur Blvd., Suite 240
Portland, OR 97239

Phone: 503-888-2690
Fax: 503-477-4177
Email: staff at

Do you know someone in need of Social Security benefits?

If you want to refer yourself, a friend, or family member, please download and fill out our referral form. Using the referral form will save us a step since we need that before we can even begin.

Download our referral form:

PLEASE NOTE: As of April 2024 we are prioritizing enrolling cases for people with zero income, who live in the urban areas of Clackamas County. This is due to funding resources we have received as a non-profit. For non-Clackamas County residents who live in or around the Portland, Oregon Metro areas we have a four week wait list for screening phone calls for possible enrollment into our program. If you would like to be placed into our wait list, please complete the ASSIST referral form above and scan, email or fax it to us.

Photo: ASSIST Staff, Summer of 2022

How and Why We're Different:

  • We learn as much as we can about you and your conditions before filing an application.
  • We assist in gathering medical and other pertinent documentation.
  • We help claimants with their application(s) from the very beginning.
  • We file all applications and appeals on-line for better tracking.
  • We correspond with your doctors.
  • We take our clients to disability related appointments.
  • We try to help the Social Security Administration locate missing evidence.

Video: ASSIST—Going the Extra Mile for People with Disabilities

Watch and listen as ASSIST staff and advocates describe and demonstrate their work.

ASSIST from Christian Krantz on Vimeo.

Read about ASSIST in The Oregonian:

"Homeless clients need help to get help from disability benefits" (October 30, 2017)

Of the 4,000 people living on the streets in Multnomah County, more than half have serious mental illness and more than a third have physical disabilities.

You'd think many of these people could qualify for disability income help from the government.

The short answer is they probably could. The reality is the more disabled they are, the harder it is for them to pursue benefits.

This is where Mellani Calvin comes in. In April 2010, she founded the nonprofit ASSIST, which stands for "Assertive Supplemental Security Income Service Team." From a small office in Southwest Portland, the five-member staff works with indigent or homeless clients seeking to qualify for disability benefits.

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ASSIST is a 501(c)3 non-profit.