The Social Security Administration announced a new service for people awaiting a hearing decision.

In addition to telephone hearings, Social Security will offer the opportunity for an online video hearing using the Microsoft Teams platform beginning this fall. This new free service will allow applicants and their representatives to participate in the hearing from anywhere they have access to a camera-enabled smartphone, tablet or computer. This stable and secure online platform allows the Social Security judge to see and interact with applicants and their representatives just like an in-person hearing, while maintaining privacy of the claimant’s information. Other hearing experts, such as medical or vocational experts, may participate as well.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of finding new ways to serve the public,” Commissioner of Social Security Andrew Saul said. “For over a decade, the agency has used video hearings to get applicants their hearing decisions sooner. This advancement builds on that effort, making it easier and more convenient to attend a hearing remotely, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. To continue to ensure all participants’ safety, we expect online video hearings and telephone hearings will be the only two hearing options for the foreseeable future.”

Social Security has been conducting appeal hearings with Administrative Law Judges via telephone only since March, while offices remain closed to the public to protect the health and safety of the public and employees. The agency’s ALJs have held more than 180,000 telephone hearings since March, allowing the agency to continue to deliver critical customer service.

For the new online video hearings, whether the device is a laptop, smartphone, or tablet on either iPhone or Android, people will experience a clear picture and audio of the ALJ and their representative during their hearing.

CBRE expands

services in W.Va., Ky.


CBRE announced that it has hired a new associate to expand the firm’s presence across the West Virginia and Kentucky markets.

In her new role, Shannon Blanke will focus on industrial, office and retail representation in the submarkets of Lexington and Ashland, as well as the Huntington submarket.

“Even during these unprecedented times in our industry, CBRE is committed to best serving our clients,” said Jeffrey Ackerman, CBRE’s managing director. “We are excited to have Shannon join the firm as the first advisory & transaction services professional to solely focus on these three submarkets in West Virginia and Kentucky.”

Prior to joining CBRE, Blanke worked in the restaurant industry for more than two decades. A native of Buffalo, New York, Blanke is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she earned a degree in sports medicine.

A current resident of Ashland, Blanke serves on the board of directors for local non-profit, The Neighborhood, and is the Senior Director of Real Estate with 3J Group and their two restaurant concepts.

King’s Daughters

welcomes Zacur


King’s Daughters has welcomed nurse practitioner Annette Zacur, APRN, to its pulmonology team.

Zacur was previously a charge nurse in the Advanced Illness Management Unit at King’s Daughters. She joins the practice of KDMS Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Drs. Mohamad Abul-Khoudoud, Kenneth Leung, Scott Nelson, Traci Sanchez-Vanhoose, Gregory Stark, Bjorn Thorarinsson, Chelsey White, Jeffrey Jenkins and Sabrina Roberts. The practice is in Suite G10 on 613 23rd Street.

New patients are welcome. Reach the practice at (606) 408-LUNG (5864).

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