Debora Wagner

Senior Extension Associate

201 Dolgen Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

Phone: (513) 725-5614
Fax: (607) 255-2928

Debora Wagner

Prior to joining the Yang-Tan Institute at Cornell University, Debora Wagner spent 25 years working with legal services and law school clinical programs. She started her career at the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati, where she represented individuals with disabilities in benefits cases before the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Social Security Administration, with a specialization in work incentives planning. She taught at the University of Cincinnati College of Law, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and Saint Louis University School of Law, focusing on clinical legal education and poverty law. She worked as a Managing Attorney at Colorado Legal Services before returning home to the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati. At Legal Aid, she managed the disability-related benefits programs, representing individual clients and leading systemic advocacy before the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration, and the Ohio Department of Medicaid.

Throughout her career, she has presented on benefits issues, including post-entitlement and return-to-work issues for attorneys, vocational rehabilitation professionals, agency staff, individuals with disabilities, and their families. She is frequently invited to present on the intersection of VA benefits and Social Security benefits, with a focus on how work impacts benefits for Veterans. Since 2016, she has led the statewide network of work incentives training and technical assistance for benefits planners in Ohio.

In 2021, Debora joined the Cornell staff, where she continues to provide work incentives training and technical assistance. She also serves as an instructor on YTIOnline, the institute’s distance learning program for benefits planners and others interested in learning about the Social Security disability and work incentive programming.


JD 1996 - University of Cincinnati College of Law, Cincinnati, Ohio
BA 1991 - Miami University, Oxford, Ohio