Mellani Calvin’s Bio

Mellani Calvin: Program Director of Disability Benefits Training & Cons.
Almost all of Mellani Calvin’s career has been assisting people with disabilities in one form or another. Her early career was in administration of Workers’ Compensation Vocational Rehabilitation programs.

Mellani has assisted people through the Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSD/SSI) application process since 2001. She worked as a Social Security disability paralegal for 3-1/2 of these years preparing cases for hearings with the Social Security Administration’s Administrative Law Judges.

She began working at Central City Concern in Portland, Oregon in November 2004 as a non-attorney representative with a focus on chronically homeless and the indigent and moved on in 2008 to develop and manage the highly successful Benefits and Entitlements Specialists Team (B.E.S.T.). Since December 2005, she became one of Oregon’s original four trainers for the national SSI-SSD Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) curriculum sponsored by SAMHSA, which also helps social workers and case managers learn to navigate the Social Security Disability process.

As of April, 2010 Mellani established two new disability related companies: Disability Benefits Training & Consulting and A.S.S.I.S.T. (Assertive SSI Service Team). Her work as the principal trainer and program director has now taken her to many cities throughout the Northwest to begin establishing new assistance programs for the disabled homeless. She has also presented at the national conferences such as the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans in Washington, DC and the National Community Action Partnership conference held in San Francisco, CA.

In February, 2012 Mellani became member of the National Association of Disability Representatives (NADR).

In September, 2012 Mellani also became a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives (NOSSCR).

In July, 2013 Mellani became an non-attorney representative eligible for direct fee payment from the Social Security Administration. She officially represents claimants at all stages of the Administrative Review process just as disability attorneys do.

Mellani has received several state and community awards for her advocacy.

In July, 2011 she was presented with a leadership award from the Coordinating Committee to End Homelessness, a collaboration of community stakeholders committed to ending homelessness in Portland/Multnomah County. Presenting the award is Multnomah County Commissioner, Deborah Kafoury and City of Portland Commissioner, Nick Fish.

In August, 2007 she was awarded the 2007 Mental Health Award of Excellence from Oregon Addiction and Mental Health Services in Salem, OR.

In April, 2007 Mellani was recognized with an award by the Oregon Coalition on Housing and Homelessness in Hood River, OR.

In September, 2015 ASSIST was presented with the first Bank of America’s “Innovators Award” for the unique advocacy model ASSIST uses to expedite disability benefits.

Mellani and her family have lived in Oregon most of their lives. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest she enjoys all of nature’s bounty.