Welcome to RISE: Refugee & Immigrant Services AND Empowerment


Our mission is to promote justice for refugees and immigrants through legal representation, advocacy, and education for the broader community.



We opened our doors in June 2016 as the first nonprofit in the United States to focus on refugees and immigrants who are eligible for Social Security disability benefits. We called ourselves Refugee Disability Benefits Oregon (RDBO) and later changed our name to Refugee & Immigrant Services and Empowerment (RISE).  This year, IRCO invited us to become part of their new legal program.  Our Board believes we can better serve our clients as a part of IRCO -- and we are making the move!

Legal representation of refugees and immigrants for disability cases will be our only focus. Our attorneys will continue to work closely with healthcare providers, case managers and counselors to ensure that our refugee and immigrant clients’ cases are presented competently and compassionately, at the 95% success rate we have been able to achieve. 


If you are a refugee or immigrant who is unable to work and needs assistance with obtaining disability benefits, please click here.




Our work extends well beyond our focus on individual legal representation.


We seek to assist and empower the families and communities of refugees and immigrants with disabilities through key initiatives led by our board


Our Community Navigators Program
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Our Culturally Responsive Healthcare Providers Network
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Our Network of Vocational Counselors for Bridge Employment
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Our Advocacy Initiatives
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Our Vision

• Refugees and immigrants with different abilities are safe, accepted and supported by their communities. They are empowered to advocate for themselves and able to obtain the help they need.

• Members of refugee and immigrant communities understand and are able to navigate the disability benefit system and secure just treatment for community members with different abilities.

• Refugees and immigrants with different abilities understand the choice between disability benefits and vocational training, and are able to make informed decisions and work with culturally competent providers.


• Healthcare providers, social security decision-makers, and judges have greater cultural competence and a realistic understanding of refugee and immigrant experiences, which results in more just actions and decisions.

• Institutions and public policy makers credit, value and justly serve refugees and immigrants with different abilities and their communities because they trust our integrity, respect our knowledge, and partner with us to improve the lives of refugees and immigrants with different abilities.