Through direct representation, counseling and advocacy Rubicon Legal Services provides vital legal assistance to very low-income people in the East Bay. Most of our clients live with incomes below the federal poverty line, are living with disabilities, including mental illness, or are seeking to achieve financial independence through employment but face multiple barriers to successfully finding jobs and advancing careers. We are committed to helping our clients gain basic economic security and improved health and wellness.
Our new name, Rubicon Legal Services, reflects our strategy to deepen the impact we have through the close coordination of legal services with Rubicon’s Mental Health and Wellness, and Economic Empowerment divisions. For those who have come to know The Hawkins Center for the skilled representation and advocacy services we have provided on Social Security disability claims since 1986, as well as our other services, rest assured these services continue!
The Hawkins Center was named after Versie Hawkins, who suffered a severe back injury in 1982. After multiple setbacks, Versie sought the assistance of a young attorney and social worker in Richmond, Linda Mills, who represented her before the Social Security Administration and was able to guide her case to a successful conclusion. Versie's struggle and the dignity with which she fought through it, so inspired Linda that she founded The Hawkins Center. In 2003, after more than 10 years of collaboration, the Hawkins Center merged with Rubicon Programs.
Over the years we have represented over 2,000 individuals in hearings or appeals. We estimate that our clients have cumulatively recovered over $30 million in past-due Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) and SSI disability benefits after receiving favorable hearing decision. Over their lifetimes, our past clients have or will collect ongoing monthly disability benefits in a total amount that will top $200 million. This most basic source of income — as well as the Medicare or MediCal that comes with it — makes a life changing difference for people who are otherwise unable to work due to severe mental or physical disabilities.
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In 2012 Rubicon Legal Servicesí received a cy pres award from Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann, & Bernstein for its Mental Health Legal Services Partnership. Contact Kelly Dunn, Director of Legal Services, for more information on nominating Rubicon for a cy pres award. KellyD@rubiconprograms.org