Rebecca received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was elected Order of the Coif. While in law school, Ms. Vallas was the President of the Virginia Law Public Interest Law Association, and the recipient of the Margaret Hyde Award and the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Award. She also received the Pro Bono Award, for completing the most pro bono service in her graduating class, and represented dozens of low-income clients in Virginia Law's public benefits clinic. Prior to law school, she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, summa cum laude, from Emory University, where she was elected Phi Beta Kappa.
Rebecca Vallas joined Community Legal Services of Philadelphia in September 2009 as a Skadden Fellow, where she launched the SSI Preservation Project, providing representation to elderly and disabled individuals facing cutoffs or denials of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for reasons not connected to their disability. At CLS, she has also represented low-income individuals and families facing food stamps, cash assistance, Medicaid, Medicare, and other public benefits-related problems. She has also engaged in extensive advocacy with the Social Security Administration and other federal agencies, as well as legislative advocacy, around public benefits programs that provide critical support to the low-income elderly, such as SSI.
As a 2011-12 Borchard Fellow, Rebecca will be coordinating a three-part project to develop preventive strategies that minimize wrongful and needless denial, reduction, and termination of low-income seniors' rightful public benefits. Her project will include systemic advocacy at the local, state, and national levels; development of educational and training materials on elderly public benefits topics, supplemented by extensive community education and outreach to Philadelphia's seniors and senior-focused advocates; and representation of individual clients as a member of the Aging and Disabilities Unit of Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.
The mission of the Borchard Foundation Center on Law & Aging is, through education, research and service, to help improve the quality of life for elderly people, including those who are poor or otherwise isolated by lack of education, language, culture, disability or other barriers.
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