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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs


Archived Newsletters

The MDVA sends a bi weekly electronic newsletter.
The newsletter contains state partner and federal partner news, MDVA event photos and updates, as well as community partner news to include upcoming events.
To view archived newsletters, please see below.

To sign up for the MDVA electronic newsletter, please visit the home page of our website and share your email address.
Please note, the Department does not share your email address with any outside parties.

2 December 2022 MDVA Newsletter

18 November 2022 MDVA Newsletter

4 November 2022 MDVA Newsletter

21 October 2022 MDVA Newsletter

7 October 2022 MDVA Newsletter

23 September 2022 MDVA Newsletter

9 September 2022 MDVA Newsletter

12 August 2022 MDVA Newsletter

29 July 2022 MDVA Newsletter

15 July 2022 MDVA Newsletter

1 July 2022 MDVA Newsletter

17 June 2022 MDVA Newsletter

3 June 2022 MDVA Newsletter

20 May 2022 MDVA Newsletter

6 May 2022 MDVA Newsletter

22 April 2022 MDVA Newsletter

8 April 2022 MDVA Newsletter

25 March 2022 MDVA Newsletter

11 March 2022 MDVA Newsletter

25 February 2022 MDVA Newsletter

11 February 2022 MDVA Newsletter

28 January 2022 MDVA Newsletter

14 January 2022 MDVA Newsletter

31 December 2021 MDVA Newsletter

17 December 2021 MDVA Newsletter

3 December 2021 MDVA Newsletter

19 November 2021 MDVA Newsletter

5 November 2021 MDVA Newsletter

22 October 2021 MDVA Newsletter

8 October 2021 MDVA Newsletter

24 September 2021 MDVA Newsletter

10 September 2021 MDVA Newsletter

27 August 2021 MDVA Newsletter

13 August 2021 MDVA Newsletter

30 July 2021 MDVA Newsletter

16 July 2021 MDVA Newsletter

2 July 2021 MDVA Newsletter

18 June 2021 MDVA Newsletter

4 June 2021 MDVA Newsletter

21 May 2021 MDVA Newsletter

7 May 2021 MDVA Newsletter

23 April 2021 MDVA Newsletter

9 April 2021 MDVA Newsletter

26 March 2021 MDVA Newsletter

12 March 2021 MDVA Newsletter

26 February 2021 MDVA Newsletter

12 February 2021 MDVA Newsletter

29 January 2021 MDVA Newsletter

15 January 2021 MDVA Newsletter

1 January 2021 MDVA Newsletter

18 December 2020 MDVA Newsletter

4 December 2020 MDVA Newsletter

20 November 2020 MDVA Newsletter

6 November 2020 MDVA Newsletter

23 October 2020 MDVA Newsletter

9 October 2020 MDVA Newsletter

25 September 2020 MDVA Newsletter

11 September 2020 MDVS Newsletter

28 August 2020 MDVA Newsletter

14 August 2020 MDVA Newsletter

31 July 2020 MDVA Newsletter

17 July 2020 MDVA Newsletter

3 July 2020 MDVA Newsletter

19 June 2020 MDVA Newsletter

5 June 2020 MDVA Newsletter

22 May 2020 MDVA Newsletter

8 May 2020 MDVA Newsletter

24 April 2020 MDVA Newsletter

10 April 2020 MDVA Newsletter

27 March 2020 MDVA Newsletter

13 March 2020 MDVA Newsletter

28 February 2020 MDVA Newsletter

14 February 2020 MDVA Newsletter

31 January 2020 MDVA Newsletter

17 January 2020 MDVA Newsletter

3 January 2020 MDVA Newsletter

20 December 2019 MDVA Newsletter

6 December 2019 MDVA Newsletter

22 November 2019 MDVA Newsletter

8 November 2019 MDVA Newsletter

25 October 2019 MDVA Newsletter

11 October 2019 MDVA Newsletter

27 September 2019 MDVA Newsletter

13 September 2019 MDVA Newsletter

30 August 2019 MDVA Newsletter

16 August 2019 MDVA Newsletter

2 August 2019 MDVA Newsletter

19 July 2019 MDVA Newsletter

5 July 2019 MDVA Newsletter

21 June 2019 MDVA Newsletter

7 June 2019 MDVA Newsletter

24 May 2019 MDVA Newsletter

10 May 2019 MDVA Newsletter

26 April 2019 MDVA Newsletter

12 April 2019 MDVA Newsletter

29 March 2019 MDVA Newsletter

15 March 2019 MDVA Newsletter

1 March 2019 MDVA Newsletter

15 February 2019 MDVA Newsletter

1 February 2019 MDVA Newsletter

18 January 2019 MDVA Newsletter

4 January 2019 MDVA Newsletter


Title 38 U.S.C. section 101: Defining ‘Veteran’, How to request military records

Veteran Defined

The general definition of veteran, as established in Title 38 U.S.C. section 101 is found below.  See section 101 for the full definition.

  • A person who served on full time active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, other than active duty for training, and was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • An individual who died while serving on active duty, or was disabled or died from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty while performing active duty for training or inactive duty training.
  • Certain members of a reserve component of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Certain members of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (formerly the Coast and Geodetic Survey) and the regular or reserve Corps of the Public Health Service.

Military Personnel Record Requests

Copies of discharge documents are required to verify eligibility for most benefits and services specific to military veterans.

Discharge documents are required for admission to Charlotte Hall Veterans Home, Maryland’s Veteran Cemeteries Program, U.S. VA claims, and to receive many other services provided to veterans and their families.

Veterans who meet the following criteria can contact the MDVA Baltimore Service Program Office at 800-446-4926, ext. 6450 to inquire if a copy of discharge papers are on file:

  • World War II veterans, who were Maryland residents at the time of entry into the service
  • Veterans discharged from service after October 15, 1979 and who had a Maryland address at the time of discharge

Veterans and their next of kin can also request a copy of a service member’s DD-214, Certificate of Release, or Discharge from Active Duty, from the National Archives.

For information on how to request a copy of military personnel service record visit The National Archives website.

If access to the internet is unavailable, contact the National Archives at:

The National Archives & Records Administration

8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740-6001
1-866-272-6272 or 1-86-NARA-NARA
Fax: 301-837-0483
TDD lines for College Park, MD: 301-837-0482


State Military Retirement Pay and Pension Tax Benefits

Retirement Pay and Pension Tax Deductions and Exclusions

Military Retirement Pay Income Tax Deduction

If you receive or the spouse of a military retiree receives military retirement income, you will be able to subtract up to $5,000, with an increase to the first $15,000 for individuals who are at least 55 years old on the last day of the taxable year, of your military retirement income from your federal adjusted gross income before determining your Maryland tax.  The retirement income must have been received as a result of any of the following military service:

  • Induction into the U.S. Armed forces for training and service under the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 or a subsequent Act of similar nature
  • Membership in a reserve component of the U.S. armed forces
  • Membership in an active component of the U.S. armed forces
  • Membership in the Maryland National Guard

The benefit also applies to persons separated from active duty employment with the commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or the Coast and Geodetic Survey.

Maryland Pension Exclusion

If you are 65 or older or totally disabled (or your spouse is totally disabled), you may qualify for Maryland’s maximum pension exclusion of $31,100 for tax year 2019 under the conditions described in Instruction 13 of the Maryland resident tax booklet. If you’re eligible, you may be able to subtract some of your taxable pension and retirement annuity income from your federal adjusted gross income.

This subtraction applies only if:

  • You were 65 or older or totally disabled, or your spouse was totally disabled, on the last day of the tax year; and
  • You included on your federal return income received as a pension, annuity or endowment from an “employee retirement system.” A traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, a simplified employee plan (SEP), a Keogh Plan or an ineligible deferred compensation plan does not qualify.

For more information visit a local office for tax payer assistance.  For locations, go to the Maryland Comptroller website.

To speak with the Maryland Taxpayer Service call:

  • From Central Maryland, 410-260-7980
  • From all other areas of Maryland, 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937)

Source: Maryland Office of the Comptroller

 


Information for Veteran Owned/Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business Owners

Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs

The Governor’s Office of Small, Minority & Women Business Affairs is the State’s primary advocate for small, minority- and women-owned businesses. The Office promotes fairness and compliance in government contracting and endorses the utilization of certified Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Small Business Reserve (SBR) firms.  Learning to navigate the procurement process is a critical element of success for any firm that wants to perform as a prime or subcontractor on a government contract.

Small Business Development

The Maryland Small Business and Technology Development Center (SBTDC) provides confidential business services to help refine business plans, identify sources of capital, and develop strategies to support business growth and profitability.  The Maryland SBTDC network is divided into six regions which provide services to entrepreneurs and existing businesses across the state.  Each region offers a variety of training and outreach programs and one-on-one counseling with special emphasis on developing programs that meet the unique needs of businesses within their jurisdiction.

Veteran Owned Small Business Participation in Maryland State Procurement

Veteran-Owned Small Business Enterprise (VSBE) Program
Maryland’s VSBE Program provides contracting opportunities on state-funded procurements for qualified veteran-owned small businesses. Sixty-five agencies/departments are directed to spend at least 1% of the total dollar value of their procurement contracts either directly (prime contractors) or indirectly (subcontractors) with certified VSBE firms. Only the work of a certified VSBE firm can be counted toward meeting an established VSBE contract goal.

Businesses seeking to participate in the VSBE Program must (1) meet the size standards adopted by the United States Small Business Administration in 13 C.F.R. 121.201 and any subsequent revision of that regulation, and; (2) must be at least 51% owned and controlled by one or more individuals who are veterans. A veteran is defined as an individual who is verified as having served on active duty in the armed forces of the United States, other than for training, and was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.

​Certification as a VSBE vendor
requires 2 elements:
(1) Veteran Verification and
(2) Vendor Registration.

Veteran Verification – The veteran verification process includes, but may not be limited to, completion and submission of DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. Veteran status must be verified by one of the following entities:

(1) VSBE Program Verification of Veteran Status
Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

(2) Center for Validation and Evaluation (VetBiz)
United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Complete information regarding the verification process can be found by utilizing the website links provided above.
Vendor Registration – VSBE firms must complete the vendor registration in eMaryland Marketplace Advantage (eMMA), Maryland’s eProcurement platform. Vendors registered in eMMA receive email notices of procurement opportunities available across all state agencies/departments valued over $15,000. County and local governments use the platform to advertise their procurements as well. There is no cost to register in eMMA.

During the registration process, vendors who meet the VSBE Program ‘s elegibility standards should select VSBE under the Procurement Programs category and enter your vertification number in the box provided. If you do not have a verification number at the time you register as a vendor, you can update your vendor profile once you receive the number.

Change of Status Notification – Notify the Governor’s Office of Small, Minority and Women’s Business Affairs within thirty (30) days of any change affecting the firm’s ability to meet the VSBE Program eligibility requirements.

Your business may also qualify for procurement opportunities through the Small Business Reserve (SBR) and/or Minority Business Enterprise (MBE)​ Programs.
​​
Program Qualification Warning
Providing False Information

A person providing false information to the State in connection with retaining, obtaining or attempting to obtain a contract or subcontract under VSBE Program may be subject to one or more of the following:

A determination by a Procurement Officer that a bidder or offeror is not responsible;
A determination by a Procurement Officer that the company is ineligible to participate in a VSBE goal designation;
A determination that a contract entered into is void or voidable under §11-204 of the State Finance and Procurement Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland;
Suspension and debarment under Title 16 of the State Finance and Procurement Article;
Criminal prosecution of procurement fraud under §11-205.1 of the State Finance and Procurement Article, perjury, or other crimes;
Civil penalties under the Maryland False Claims Act under Title 8 of the General Provisions Article; and
Other actions permitted by law.

Other State Programs

  • Ready, Set, GROW! Workshop Series- The Governor’s Office of Small, Minority, and Women Business Affairs is helping small, minority and women business owners compete for State contracting opportunities with a new life workshop series entitled Ready, Set, GROW!.  The two hour workshop will include information about certification in the State’ Minority Business Enterprise Program, vendor enrollment in the Small Business Reserve Program, and where to find procurement opportunities within the 70 participating agencies and tips on how to navigate the procurement process.  Watch a video on the series here.
  • Military Personnel and Veteran Owned Small Business No-Interest Loan Program – The Maryland Department of Commerce administers this no-interest loan program (loan amounts up to $50,000) for business owners who fall under any one of the following categories:
    • Military reservist or National Guard member called to active duty
    • Small business owner who employs a military reservist or National Guard member who was called to active duty
    • A Veteran small business owner – or a veteran seeking to start a small business
    • Small business owner who employs a service-disabled veteran
    • For more information visit the Department of Commerce or contact:
    • Celester Hall
      Program Manager, Office of Finance Programs
      Maryland Department of Commerce
      410-767-6356
  •  

Business Financing

The Maryland Department of Commerce offers a number of financing programs to assist the state’s business community. Specific financing programs for small business clients include the following:

  • Community Development Block Grant Program- dispersed to a local jurisdiction in the form of a conditional grant and then used for public improvements or loaned to a business
  • Maryland Economic Adjustment Fund- assists business entities in the state with modernization of manufacturing operations, development of commercial applications for technology, and exploring and entering new markets
  • Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority- provides financing for small businesses that are not able to qualify for financing from private lending institutions or owned by socially and economically disadvantaged persons
  • Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund- provides assistance to the business community and political jurisdictions with five financing capabilities
  • Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority- encourages private sector financing in economic development projects located in Priority Funding Areas
  • Maryland Venture Fund- makes direct investments in technology and life science companies and indirect investments in venture capital funds.

Visit the Maryland Department of Commerce website for more information about these programs.

United States Department of Veterans Affairs: Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization

Visit the US Department of Veterans of Affairs Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization to learn more about the verification process to do business with the Federal Government.


Information for Veterans Seeking Employment, State Government Jobs, Military Service Credits

Are you ready to search for a job?  that next career? 

Visit the Maryland Workforce Exchange to begin your search.

Do you need one on one assistance as you search for a job?  that next career?

If so, contact the Maryland Department of Labor for individualized support.

Are you in the National Guard or Reserve Component and searching for a job?  that next career? 

Contact the MD National Guard Transition Assistance Advisor, Pierre Thomas at 410-576-2994

Maryland State Government Careers for Veterans

Maryland State Government appreciates the value of the experience you gained while serving our country.  This page contains resources Maryland provides to returning veterans – employment opportunities, veteran services, upcoming events and more.

Am I eligible for veteran’s credit?

Article – State Personnel and Pensions §7–207.

(2)    (i)   An appointing authority shall apply a credit of ten points on any selection test for:

1.   an eligible veteran;
2.   the spouse of an eligible veteran who has a service connected disability; or
3.   the surviving spouse of a deceased eligible veteran.

(ii)   An appointing authority shall apply a credit of two additional points on any selection test for a former prisoner of war

(g) Credit of five points on selection test.  An appointing authority shall apply a credit of five points on a selection test for an individual disability, as defined by the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Am I eligible to be a certified disabled veteran?  

​In accordance with the Annotated Code of Maryland, State Personnel and Pensions, Section 7–203, if a manager elects to hire from a certified list of disabled veterans, who have served in any U.S. Armed Forces branch, candidates may be selected for employment without a competitive selection process.

To qualify, candidates must: be minimally qualified for the position; be able to perform the duties of the job with or without a reasonable accommodation; and present documentation issued by an appropriate department of the Federal government certifying the existence and extent of the veteran’s disability as listed below.
  • Documentation of being on an U.S. Armed Forces permanent disability list with a disability rating of at least 30%
  • Have been rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as having a compensable service-connected disability of at least 30%.
The veteran is not qualified for this option if he/she holds a permanent appointment or has mandatory reinstatement rights to a permanent appointment.
For Certified Disabled Vet consideration, please complete the free names application process for Certified Disabled Veterans (DV) within our Maryland State Online Employment Center.
Are you a Maryland State Government Employee and you also served in the military? 
See below for how your military service may be applied towards service in State Government.

State Service Credit for Military Service

 

 


Information for Employers Who Want to Hire Veterans

Are you an employer looking to hire qualified veterans? 

See below for resources on best practices in hiring and retaining veterans.

Are there tax credits for hiring veterans?  What employers need to know.

A Maryland Department of Commerce Program, The Hire Our Veterans Tax Credit Program provides a state income tax credit to small businesses for hiring qualified veterans based on wages paid to those veteran employees.

BENEFITS
A Maryland employer may qualify for an income tax credit equal to 30% of up to the first $6,000 of wages paid to a qualified veteran employee during the first year of employment (i.e. a maximum of $1,800 per qualified veteran employee).​

ELIGIBILITY

Qualified Employer
A qualified employer is a “small business” operated by an individual, a partnership, a limited partnership, a limited liability partnership, a limited liability company, or a corporation that employs 50 or fewer full-time employees.

Qualified Employee

  • Must have been hired on or after January 1, 2017;

AND

  • Must have served in the active Armed Forces and have been discharged or released from that service under honorable circumstances. “Armed Forces” means the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, & Coast Guard, including related reserve components;

AND

  • Must have served on active duty (not including training) in the Armed Forces for more than 180 days, OR have been discharged or released from active duty for a service-connected disability; AND not have a period of active duty (not including training) of more than 90 days that ended during the 60-day period ending on the hiring date;

AND

  • Must be a Qualified Veteran for purposes of the Federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit, as follows:
    • Be a veteran who is a member of a family that received SNAP benefits (food stamps) for at least a 3-month period during the 15-month period ending on the hiring date;
      OR
    • Be a disabled veteran entitled to compensation for a service-connected disability, who has been hired within 1 year after discharge or release from active duty OR unemployed for at least 6 months in the year ending on the hiring date;
      OR
    • Be a veteran who has been unemployed for at least 4 weeks in the year ending on the hiring date.

LIMITATIONS

  • This credit is only available for wages paid in the qualified veteran’s first year of employment.
  • A qualified employer may claim up to 5 qualified veteran employees for each taxable year.
  • The total amount of credits available in a year is capped at $500,000, and approvals of the tax credit certifications are on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • The tax credit is not refundable.
  • The tax credit cannot be carried forwards or backwards.

APPLY

  • A small business must submit the Application Forms A & B, Qualified Veteran Employee’s Self-Certification Form(s), copies of W-2s and/or paystubs, and copies of DD214 or equivalent official discharge forms to the Maryland Department of Commerce (Commerce) for the certification.
  • Commerce will certify or deny an application within 45 days after the receipt of a “complete” application.

APPLICATION MATERIALS

CLAIM TAX CREDIT
After receiving the tax credit certification from Commerce, the employer must file a tax return with the Comptroller of Maryland for the taxable year in which the certification was issued using Maryland Tax Form 500CR. Maryland Tax Form 500CR must be filed electronically with an attached copy of the certification from​ Commerce. Please note that the credit can be taken against the State income tax ONLY. It is not taken against the county income tax “add-on”. For more information regarding the tax forms and tax return instructions, please visit the Comptroller of Maryland website.

If the employer needs tax information or guidance beyond the scope of the information which is required to apply for the Hire Our Veterans Tax Credit program, please contact the Comptroller of Maryland. Commerce cannot dispense tax advice.

RESOURCES
Chapter 180 (Senate Bill 807)

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT

Emiko Kawagoshi, Tax Specialist, Tax Incentives
Maryland Department of Commerce, Office of Finance Programs
(410) 767-4041
(877) 821-0099
Mark A. Vulcan​, Program Manager, Tax Incentives
Maryland Department of Commerce, Office of Finance Programs
(410) 767-6438
(877) 821-0099

What do employers need to know when employees who are currently serving are called to active duty?

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects service members’ reemployment rights when returning from a period of service in the uniformed services, including those called up from the reserves or National Guard, and prohibits employer discrimination based on military service or obligation. The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) administers USERRA.

For more information visit the USERRA website.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor


Search Jobs in Your Community


Veterans Day Events: 11/14-11/19

Community partners have informed the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs of the following Veterans Day related events:

November 17, 2022

Veterans Job & Resource Fair, Largo

November 22, 2022

Delegate Ric Metzger’s Veterans Day Event, 1:00pm, 6600 North Point Road, Sparrows Point, MD 21219

November 19, 2022

Gold Star Families Memorial Monument Cleanup, sponsored by the Travis Manion Foundation, Annapolis


Veterans Day Discounts/Benefits

Veterans Day is celebrated on November 11.  The US Department of Veterans Affairs maintains a list of discounts, benefits, offers and free meals.  The list is regularly updated so check back often for new offers.

See the US Department of Veterans Affairs website here.

 


Operation Green Light: About/Get Involved

Operation Green Light

The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs is honored to participate in the National Association of Counties Operation Green Light Initiative.

ABOUT

This coming Veterans Day, the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association of County Veteran Service Officers (NACVSO) invite the nation’s 3,069 counties, parishes, and boroughs to join Operation Green Light and show support for veterans by lighting our buildings green from November 7 to November 13. By shining a green light, county governments and our residents will let veterans know that they are seen, appreciated and supported.

Operation Green Light provides educational opportunities for governments, businesses and individuals to learn more about military culture, suicide prevention, and things veterans want us to know about their service and their transition from military to civilian culture.  Maryland’s participation in the VA/SAMHSA Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and Families provides the forum in which to do so.  Visit the Governor’s Challenge Psych Armor Training Portal to complete free training on a variety of subjects related to the military and veteran culture, women veterans, and suicide prevention.

MDVA is collaborating with the NACo, Maryland Association of Counties (MACo), Maryland Municipal League (MML) and County Veterans Affairs Commissions on Operation Green Light and this November, we hope to see Maryland illuminated in green.

Governor Hogan has announced Operation Green Light to honor veterans statewide.  Read the November 3, 2022 press release here.

Governor's Proclamation

Governor’s Proclamation


GET INVOLVED

Governments/businesses:

  1. TOOLKIT: Visit NACo’s Operation Green Light toolkit.  The toolkit contains a sample proclamation, sample letter to the editor, and social media graphics.  See the toolkit here.
  2. SOCIAL MEDIA: Have a “Green Out” the week of November 7 to November 13.  Take photos of staff with a green background and share Operation Green Light graphics.  When sharing on social media, use #OperationGreenLight and #OperationGreenLightMaryland.
  3. SHARE: Tell us how your government/business is participating.
    With MDVA: Share how your government or business is participating here.  More than 1 entry can be made, so be sure to share new updates on your participation in the initiative.
    With MACo: If you are a county, email information to Victoria Maas, Communications Coordinator, MACo, vmaas@mdcounties.org.Individuals: Show your support by changing out an external or internal light bulb to green.  Tell a family member, friend, or neighbor who has served in the military about the initiative.  Encourage them to visit the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs.

Shareable graphics can be found on Dropbox.  You do not need an account to download.

OGL Graphic 1- Half page
OGL Graphic 2- Instagram
OGL Graphic 3- Business/Facebook
OGL Graphic 4- Facebook/Twitter
OGL Graphic 5- Web banner

Landmarks to be illuminated the week of November 7 to November 13 or on one day during the week:

Maryland's Government House

Maryland’s Government House/Governor’s Mansion
Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs cemeteries and memorials
Motor Vehicle Administration’s Glen Burnie Service Center
Charlotte Hall Veterans Home historic White House
Baltimore’s World Trade Center
Baltimore Convention Center
M & T Bank Stadium
Johns Hopkins University
University of Maryland Medical System
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Canton Tower/Baltimore City
Washington College

Participating Counties/Cities:
Anne Arundel County-
Illuminating Arundel Center
Proclamation, press release, social media

Carroll County-
Illuminating Carroll County Government Building

Calvert County- 
Illuminating county buildings
Proclamation, event
Proclamation signing video

Cecil County-
Cecil College

Charles County-
Illuminating the Charles County Courthouse and distributing green light bulbs
Proclamation, letter to the editor, press release, photos, social media

Frederick County-
Proclamation, event

Harford County-
Proclamation, press release, photos, video, social media, Chamber of Commerce distributing green bulbs

Howard County-
Illuminating Howard Hughes and Howard County Government buildings

Montgomery County-
Illuminating Memorial Plaza
Proclamation, event, press release, photos, video, web page, social media
Proclamation signing video

Queen Anne’s County-
Illuminating Liberty Building and Centreville Circuit Court
Proclamation, press release, photos, social media

Washington County-
Proclamation, event
Proclamation signing video

Supporting Organizations:
Maryland Military Coalition
Maryland Chamber of Commerce
Maryland Association of Counties
National Association of Counties

LEARN MORE/RESOURCES:
National Association of Counties Operation Green Light Toolkit
How Carbon County in Pennsylvania is getting involved
Amazon Partners with Counties to Support Veterans
National Association of Counties
Maryland Association of Counties
Maryland Municipal League
County Veterans Affairs Commissions in Maryland
Governor’s Challenge Psych Armor Training Portal


PACT ACT

The Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022, or PACT Act, is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances.  Fact sheet.

The PACT Act adds the following new presumptions:

Gulf War and post 9/11 Veteran eligibility
A presumption of exposure is assumed if you served on or after September 11, 2001, in any of these locations:

  • Afghanistan
  • Djibouti
  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Uzbekisstan
  • Yemen
  • Airspace above any of these locations

On or after August 2, 1990, in any of these locations:

  • Bahrain
  • Iraq
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Somalia
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Airspace above any of these locations

VA has added more than 20 burn pit and other toxic exposure presumptive conditions based on the PACT Act.  This change expands benefits for Gulf War era and post 9/11 Veterans.

These cancers are now presumptive conditions:

  • Brain cancer
  • Gastrointestinal cancer of any type
  • Glioblastoma
  • Head cancer of any type
  • Kidney cancer
  • Lymphatic cancer of any type
  • Lymphoma of any type
  • Melanoma
  • Neck cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Reproductive cancer of any type
  • Respiratory (breathing-related) cancer of any type

These illnesses are now presumptive conditions:

  • Asthma that was diagnosed after service
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Chronic rhinitis
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Constrictive bronchiolitis or obliterative bronchiolitis
  • Emphysema
  • Granulomatous disease
  • Interstitial lung disease (ILD)
  • Pleuritis
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Sarcoidosis

Agent Orange

Presumptive conditions:

  • Hypertension
  • Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)

 5 new locations have been added to the list of presumptive locations:

  • Any U.S. or Royal Thai military base in Thailand from January 9, 1962, through June 30, 1976
  • Laos from December 1, 1965, through September 30, 1969
  • Cambodia at Mimot or Krek, Kampong Cham Province from April 16, 1969, through April 30, 1969
  • Guam or American Samoa or in the territorial waters off of Guam or American Samoa from January 9, 1962, through July 30, 1980
  • Johnston Atoll or on a ship that called at Johnston Atoll from January 1, 1972, through September 30, 1977

Radiation presumptive locations

There are 3 new response efforts added to the list of presumptive locations:

  • Cleanup of Enewetak Atoll, from January 1, 1977, through December 31, 1980
  • Cleanup of the Air Force B-52 bomber carrying nuclear weapons off the coast of Palomares, Spain, from January 17, 1966, through March 31, 1967
  • Response to the fire onboard an Air Force B-52 bomber carrying nuclear weapons near Thule Air Force Base in Greenland from January 21, 1968, to September 25, 1968

(Source: PACT Act – Public Health (va.gov))

To speak with a Veterans Benefits Specialist about eligibility and filing a claim, visit our Service Program or call 800-446-4926, ext. 6450 to find your closest service office.


Camp LeJeune Water Exposure

If you served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in North Carolina, you may have had contact with contaminants in the drinking water there. Scientific and medical evidence has shown an association between exposure to these contaminants during military service and development of certain diseases later on.

You may be eligible for disability benefits if you meet certain requirements.

Both of these must be true:

  • You served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River for at least 30 cumulative days from August 1953 through December 1987, and
  • You didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge when you separated from the military

And you must have a diagnosis of one or more of these presumptive conditions:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease

Family members who lived on Camp LeJeune may be eligible for health care and health care funding/reimbursement.

Learn more here.  Contact a MDVA Veterans Benefits Specialist for further assistance with filing a claim or call our regional office at 800-446-4926, ext. 6450 to find your closest service office.


When We Are Not Watching: Paying Respect To The United States Flag And Honoring Our Military Children

Last night, while driving through my son’s high school parking lot a fellow parent captured a photo of two teen boys.  The parent posted the photo to Facebook and at first glance you may think they were just taking a break from their bike ride.  However, if you knew the song which was playing as this photo was taken, you’d know why they stopped.

Had this photo been a video instead, you’d hear the United States Air Force Band playing our National Anthem before a lacrosse game.  Upon hearing the song, these two teens stopped their bike ride, removed their hats, and silently stood out of respect to our Nation’s flag and all that it stands for.

As of today, the Facebook post has received more than 500 likes and 75 comments.  I’m honored to know that while I was standing inside the high school stadium, it was my son and his friend who were captured in the photo.  I proudly commented on the post, sharing that my son’s father is a veteran, that I work for the VA, that my grandfather was at Normandy on D Day, and that my son is a true patriot.

After reading the Facebook posts’ comments and as we come to the end of April’s Month of the Military Child, I’m reminded of two things.  First, that we as a community must educate our youth on the meaning behind our Nation’s flag and second, that we must take the time to understand the experience of our military/veteran connected children and youth.

Sit down with a child or youth and learn more about flag protocol by visiting our website.  Take a moment to watch the video on proper folding of the flag and learn the meaning behind each fold.  On Memorial Day, attend one of our veteran cemetery ceremonies with members of our younger generation.  Attendance will provide an excellent opportunity to educate on the significance of this day, the role of an honor guard, the respect paid to our flag, and the meaning behind Taps.

Just as there is much to teach our younger generation, there is much we can learn from the service of military connected children.  During April’s Month of the Military Child, we are encouraged to pay tribute to the resilience displayed by the more than two million children of active duty, National Guard and Reserve personnel, and veterans.  The Military Child Education Coalition has the mission to “support all military connected children by educating, advocating, and collaborating to resolve education challenges associated with the military lifestyle”.  The organization offers resources and training opportunities for parents, students, and professionals on the military child’s experience.  I encourage anyone reading this blog to visit the Coalition’s website to learn more.

Raising teenagers sure can be tough, especially in today’s digital age.  Seeing the photo of my son and his friend standing still, hats on their chest, while the National Anthem played, reminded me that while he may hem and haw at some of the things his mom teaches him, he’s getting ‘it’.  Our children must be taught the significance of the United States flag and why we take pause when our National Anthem is played.  We as a community must also honor the significance of the service of our military/veteran connected children and youth.  Let us never forget to honor them, too.

Author:
Dana Burl, Outreach Program Director
MD Department of Veterans Affairs


United States and Maryland State Flag Protocol

Would you like to know more about flag protocol?
Do you need to know when it’s appropriate to either lower or raise
the United States Flag or the Maryland Flag?
Do you have a request for a flag to be flown over the Maryland State House Dome?
The Maryland Secretary of State’s Office provides a full length guide
that explains both United States and Flag Protocol.  Learn more here.
Abridged content, specific to military and veterans, can be found below.

Armed Forces
• The United States Flag and Maryland State Flag are lowered from sunrise to sunset on the day of interment
• Public law 110.41 authorizes the Governor to order that the United States flag be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of a member of the Armed Forces from that State who dies while serving on active duty 4 U.S.C §7(m) (2016).

POW-MIA and the Honor and Remember flags:
POW/MIA flag, honors those that are/were Prisoners of War and Missing in Action
Honor and Remember flag, designed to honor all members of the Armed Forces who died in the line of duty

With the exception of the State House, a State building that is an historic building, or a State building that has a flagpole attached to the building and is determined to be structurally unable to withstand additional flags being flown from the flagpole; the Secretary of General Services and the Secretary of Transportation shall cause the POW/MIA flag to be flown on the grounds of all State buildings under their control whenever the flag of the United States is flown (Annotated Code of Maryland, State Finance and Procurement Article, 4-210).

POW-MIA flag is flow below the United States flag on state buildings. The POW-MIA flag is flown at half-staff when the United States flag is flown at half-staff. When only the Maryland flag is flown at half-staff, the POW-MIA flag is still flown at full-staff.

Blue Star Flag:
Formally known as the Blue Star Mother’s of America, Inc. The Service flag is an official banner authorized by the Department of Defense for display by families who have members serving in the Armed Forces during any period of war or hostilities the United States may be engaged in for the duration of such hostilities. The Service flag may also be displayed by an organization to honor the members of that organization serving during a period of war or hostilities.

Important Dates: (BOTH the United States Flag and Maryland Flag are lowered at sunrise and raised at sunset)

Memorial Day (half-staff until 12:00pm)
Patriot Day (September 11)
National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (December 7)

More information on flag protocol and etiquette can be found here:
The American Legion United States Flag Code
Procedure For Folding the United States Flag (video)

Do you have a request for a flag to be flown over the Maryland State House Dome?  To learn more about the application process and to make a request visit:

Maryland Capitol Police Flag Request Form

 

 


Federal and State Benefits For Service Connected Veterans

The following are added benefits for veterans based on US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) service connection.  Some of these benefits are very complex and have eligibility requirements.  Contact your local MDVA service program office for details.

0% Evaluation

  • VA medical treatment for any service connected condition
  • VA Fee Basis card for treatment of service connected conditions at non-VA facilities (must be applied to and approved by the nearest VA Medical facility) 
  • Service-Disabled Veterans VA Life Insurance (must have been released from active service on or after April 25, 1951 and apply within 2 years of the date VA grants new service connected condition)
  • Federal Civil Service Preference and state and county veterans preference for veterans only, subject to government approval
  • Annual clothing allowance (prosthetic/wheelchair/skin conditions)
  • Temporary total disability (100%) evaluation for VA approved hospitalization in excess of 21 days for service connected condition and/or for medically documented periods of convalescence for service connected condition from 1 to 3 months.
  • Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) for service connected loss of or loss of use of lower/upper extremities (foot or feet, leg or legs, hand or hands, arm or arms), creative organ, blindness, deafness, confinement to a wheelchair, housebound, need for aid and attendance, etc.

10% to 20% In Addition to the Above

  • VA medical treatment for any condition  (except dental) to include eye glasses and hearing aids based upon VA determined need (possible $8.00 co-pay for 30-day supply of medication for non-service connected conditions subject to means test)
  • Veterans Readiness and Employment Program (must be 20% service connected or 10% service connected with a serious employment handicap and apply within 12 years of date VA first awarded at least 10% service connected disability)
  • VA home loan funding fee exemption                           
  • Combat Related Special Compensation for military retirees (CRSC)                                                                                                 
  • VA home improvement and structural alteration (HISA) grant (apply to VA physician)
  • Automobile grant (one time) and adaptive equipment (multiple times), must qualify under certain SMC provisions

30% In Addition to the Above

  • Dependent allowances for spouse, children and dependent parents
  • Aid and Attendance allowance for disabled spouse

50% In Addition to the Above

60% In Addition to the Above

  • Increased compensation (total 100% evaluation) based upon unemployability due to one service connected disability rated at 60% 

70% to 90% In Addition to the Above

  • Increased compensation (total 100% evaluation) based upon unemployability with at least one service connected disability rated at 40%

100% Scheduler Rating or Total Disability Based Upon Unemployability In Addition to the Above

  • VA dental care
  • VA sponsored education for dependents, Chapter 35, (must be permanent and total rated or service connected death) 
  • VA life insurance waiver of premiums (must be unable to work due to any disability or disabilities for a minimum six months prior to age 65)
  • Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA) for dependents
  • VA specially adapted housing and home adaptation grants (must qualify under strict SMC provisions)
  • Maryland State Parks Universal Disability Pass (must be permanently and totally disabled) 
  • Complimentary lifetime fishing license (must be permanently and totally disabled) 
  • Complimentary lifetime hunting license, apply at a Department of Natural Resources (DNR)  Service Center (must be permanently and totally disabled)
  • Military commissary privileges and ID cards
  • Property tax exemption
  • Eligibility to compete for admission to military academies (sons or daughters)

 


Community Partner Digital Communications Toolkit

 

Thank you for helping communicate about the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs. Community partners who support and advocate for our programs help improve awareness of resources within our veteran and military connected community.

The purpose of this toolkit is to help you and your organization communicate to constituents the many resources, programs, and benefits available to veterans and their families.

Inside the toolkit you’ll find population data, talking points, how to connect with MDVA, sample letters, resource links, military/veteran awareness days/months, links to information on the Maryland legislative process and more!

 

 

Visit the communications toolkit 

Download and share the MDVA 101 video

Download and share the MDVA information sheet

Download social media graphics, sample letter, pocket card, posters and more here:

Visit Dropbox to download materials like the postcard below

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Strength and Resilience: At Home And Abroad

Across the nation each March, we celebrate Women’s History Month.  It is a time set aside to recognize the historical contributions made by women and especially in the Department of Veterans Affairs, to highlight women in military service.  Women have served in the military as far back as the Revolutionary War and now serve today in combat roles.  For civilians who have not served in the uniformed services it may be difficult to fully understand the strength and resiliency required to serve.

In recent weeks, it’s been all but impossible to escape international news on the war in Ukraine.  Although there are no US combat boots on the ground, I cannot help but analogize the civilian Ukrainian women who are bearing the burdens of war to women in US military service.  It is difficult for me to conceptualize what it must be like, as a mother, a professional, a homeowner, and a daughter, to flee your home with nothing but a backpack and the clothes on your back.  I’ve wondered in the last few days if I’d be brave enough.

According to the United Nations, it is estimated that 54% of people in need of assistance from the ongoing crisis are women.  The numbers are expected to increase as women and children continue to flee to other countries.  Considering Women’s History Month, I imagine the courage being displayed by the women in Ukraine parallels that of the courage displayed by the thousands of women who have served in our US military.

During the Revolutionary War women mended clothes and nursed wounds.  They cooked and cleaned.  Continuing in these roles during the Civil War, more than 3,000 women serving as nurses.  During World War I the Navy enlisted women as yeomanettes, allowing them to serve as clerks, telephone operators and translators.  Not long thereafter, during World War II, almost 350,00 women served in uniform.  Just as the women in Ukraine, women in military service have withstood risk and overcome trials faced before them.

Women would go on to serve in the Korean War (120,000 women) and in Vietnam (11,000 women).  Of significance in 2013 the ban on women in combat was lifted.  More than 50 women have now graduated from Army Ranger School.  They will continue making history and pave the way for women who will come after them.

As we move forward through the balance of Women’s History Month and beyond, let us pause to reflect on the accomplishments of our women in military service.  In addition, let us continue to pray for the courageous women in Ukraine.

For more information on resources for women who have served in the military, please visit: Women Veterans/Inclusion Program (maryland.gov)

For resources to help cope with the current events in Ukraine, please visit: Coping with Current Events in Ukraine – PTSD: National Center for PTSD (va.gov)

Author:
Dana Burl, Outreach Program Director
MD Department of Veterans Affairs


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