Charles Earl Hawkins, 64, a retired research analyst and legislative adviser on social welfare policies for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, died of cancer Thursday at his Bethesda home.

In 1951, Mr. Hawkins became a research analyst for the old Bureau of Public Assistance, which became part of HEW when that department was created in 1953.

From 1956 to 1971, he was a legislative adviser to the Commissioner of Social Welfare Security, the Commissioner of Welfare and to the Social and Rehabilitation Service in HEW.He worked with congressional committees on the development of disability insurance, Medicare and Medicaid programs, the Older Americans Act and other legislation.

From 1971 until his retirement in 1976, Mr. Hawkins was on the staff of the House Ways and Means Committee.

He began his career in social service in 1934 as a case worker for the Missouri Division of Welfare and was chief of research and statistics before coming here in 1951.

Mr. Hawkins was born in Springfield, Mo., and earned a bachelor's degree from Drury College there in 1932. He did postgraduate work in social work at the universities of Missouri and Chicago.

His awards include HEW's Superior Service Award, the distinguished Service Award and the Secretary Special Citation, which he received in 1969 and 1971. In 1973, he received a meritorious service citation from the state of Missouri.

Mr. Hawkins was a member of the Bethesda United Methodist Church, the Jefferson Islands Club and a number of professional associations.

Survivors include his wife, Colette, of the home; a son, Charles E. III, of Dayton, Md.,; a daughter, Cynthia E. H. Baughman, of Arlington, Mass.; a brother, Hal, of Springfield, and two grandchildren. CAPTION: Picture, CHARLES EARL HAWKINS