Expertise: Poverty, disability, Social Security, criminal justice and re-entry policy
Rebecca Vallas is the managing director for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at American Progress. Before joining American Progress, Vallas served as the deputy director of government affairs at the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, where her work was devoted to preserving and strengthening Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income for workers with disabilities. Prior to that, Vallas worked directly with low-income individuals and communities for several years as a legal aid attorney and policy advocate at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, where she was named a Skadden Fellow and a Borchard Fellow in Law and Aging. She is also a past co-chair of the national Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Social Security Task Force.
Vallas has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, C-SPAN, Fox News, PBS, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, as well as several local television and radio outlets, and she is frequently quoted in national and local media. She is the author of numerous briefs and articles on poverty, income security, disability, and criminal justice policy, and she frequently testifies before Congress. She is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and was the inaugural recipient of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association’s New Leaders in Advocacy Award. She was twice named one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” for Law & Policy, in 2011 and 2014. Vallas also hosts “Off-Kilter,” a podcast about poverty and inequality.
Vallas received her law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was elected to the Order of the Coif. She graduated summa cum laude from Emory University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society.