10 February 2023 MDVA News and Announcements

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Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs

News and Announcements  -  February 10, 2023


Fraud Prevention Alert from MDVA:

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Identity theft continues to be a significant problem for Veterans and dependents.  On occasion, a Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) Veterans Benefits Specialist may contact a veteran or family member to request personal information before submitting a VA claim.  To mitigate the possibility of being a victim of identity theft, MDVA strongly advises veterans and families to be 100% certain they are speaking with a MDVA representative before releasing any personal information to include date of birth, social security number, or bank account information.  If there is any concern regarding the legitimacy of a phone call and the need for information, please call 800-446-4926, ext. 6450 to verify the caller is indeed a MDVA employee.

MDVA Service & Benefits Program

The U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs has also provided a Fraud Prevention Alert.  You may read that alert below in the Federal News section.

MDVA Website


The Maryland Veterans Service Animal Program is open for FY23 grant applications. 

The notice of funding availability, application, and associated materials are available on the MDVA website.

  For More Information  

Maryland Veterans Service Animal Program Application deadline is February 13, 2023 at 3:00pm

For questions please contact Toni Gianforti, Grants Specialist, at toni.gianforti@maryland.gov


Unaccompanied Funeral services were held at three of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Cemeteries on Friday, January 27, 2023.

Secretary Woods

MDVA Acting Secretary Anthony Woods pays his respects at the Unaccompanied Service held at the Eastern Shore Veterans Cemetery.

Photo credit: Russ Ware

Crownsville Veterans Cemetery

Unaccompanied Ceremony at Crownsville Veterans Cemetery

Garrison Forest

Honor Guard folding the flag at Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery

Photo credit: Ms. Ginger Turnbull


For More Information on the MDVA Cemetery and Memorial Program


MDVA Acting Secretary Anthony Woods (center) spoke to Maryland members of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees (NARFE) this week.

Photo credit: Melinda Scott, NARFE Maryland

State Partner News

Governor Moore with Maryland National Guard

Governor Wes Moore delivered remarks at the deployment ceremony for Maryland Army National Guard soldiers headed to serve in the Middle East. Approximately 70 soldiers and seven CH-47F Chinook helicopters assigned to Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment will deploy to support Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Spartan Shield. The deployment ceremony was held at the Aberdeen Proving Ground - South with nearly 200 family and friends in attendance. Read more here

Photo courtesy of the Executive Office of the Governor

Department of Labor Spring Job Fair

Honor Flight Maryland

Honor Flight Maryland

Seeking WWII, Korean and Vietnam Veterans who may be interested in visiting DC Memorials, as well as, volunteers and guardians to help. Honor Flights Maryland transports America's veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices. Helping every single veteran in America, willing and able of getting on a plane or a bus, visit THEIR memorial - Honor Flight Maryland.

Register Now

Veterans Crisis Line


Trained Military Assistance Provider (TMAP) Program:

The Trained Military Assistance Provider (TMAP) Program is an essential part of Maryland's plan to end suicide in our service members, veterans, and their families. This curriculum is free for Maryland-based nurses, doctors and all primary care staff interested in learning more about military culture, crisis response planning and suicide prevention strategies, and lethal means safety protocols focused on service members, veterans and their families (SMVF). Enroll now.

The Governor's Office of Small. Minority & Women

Business Affairs

Stay connected to the many opportunities for training, networking, and business development that are taking place across Maryland and on virtual platforms. Here is a highlight of some of the events coming up this month. 

02/15/2023 - Managing Your Company Finances Utilizing the Indirect Rate Cost Methodology
02/21/2023 - Business Resilience
02/21/2023 - T.I.P.S. Webinar Series: Navigating eMaryland Marketplace Advantage (eMMA)
02/23/2023 - T.I.P.S. Webinar Series: Prime Contracting in Maryland's Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program
02/23/2023 - Celebrating Black History Month: How to Thrive as a Black Owned Business

Check out the full listing of small business events online at

2023 Session of the Maryland General Assembly has Convened

The Maryland General Assembly is currently meeting in Annapolis for the 2023 Legislative Session.  As a service to the veteran community, information on proposed legislation of possible interest to veterans is provided below:

2023 Legislative Information

You may check the status of proposed legislation by visiting the:

Maryland General Assembly Website

Maryland Department of Natural Resources Hiring for Seasonal Park Jobs

Do you want to work outdoors in Maryland's state parks this summer? We have the opportunities for you! Our parks are hiring naturalists, lifeguards, maintenance workers, and other positions. Apply by February 23.

Please visit the state hiring site to view open positions and submit your application. You can also learn more about these roles and how to apply on our website.

More News from DNR:

Fishing and Crabbing Guide

The 2023 edition of Maryland's Guide to Fishing and Crabbing is now available! Featuring information about state records, licensing, limits, fish identification, and more for the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, Coastal Bays, and nontidal waters across Maryland, the guide is available online and in print.

Read or download the guide here.

Federal Partner News

PACT Act Fraud Prevention

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Have you recently been contacted by a company aggressively seeking to legally represent you in filing presumptive VA claims authorized by the PACT Act? If so, be wary as the company might be seeking a portion of your VA benefits.

Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022 (PACT Act) represents the biggest expansion of Veteran benefits in history, and many Veterans may be eligible to receive compensation for their service. The PACT Act adds 23 burn pit and toxic exposure-related conditions to VA’s list of service presumptions, including hypertension, with the expansion of presumptions related to Agent Orange exposure by including Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Guam, American Samoa, and Johnston Atoll as locations for Agent Orange exposure.

While this legislation brings great promise to Veterans, it’s also a monumental opportunity for fraud. VA has received multiple reports of unaccredited law firms or companies targeting Veterans to offer their services to file claims for presumptive conditions. Unaccredited law firms and companies are reaching out to help for a fee as high as 40% of the Veteran’s retroactive payment and 40% of the Veteran’s first year of entitlement payments.

VA is committed to help protect Veterans from predatory entities, by educating Veterans, their families, and all partners about the types of activity and tactics being used against them.

To avoid being a victim of these schemes, here are some helpful tips to remember:

  • Apply directly to VA. You may submit your application securely online via GOV or in person at any regional office. You may file your claim directly with VA, and VA will help you gather the necessary evidence to support it. There are no costs or hidden fees to apply. Do not agree to pay an unaccredited individual or organization a percentage of your disability compensation payment or retroactive entitlement. If you need help filing a claim, there are accredited representatives to assist you.
  • Be cautious of aggressive law firms or companies. Firms may use frequent communications (phone, text, and media messages) to establish a sense of urgency.
  • Be cautious of for-profit companies that use VA’s name. They may alter their name to create a false association with VA and establish legitimacy. Examples include a website such as VAclaimsassistance.com that incorporates VA into its name.
  • Review all legally binding documents thoroughly. Never sign a blank form someone else will fill out later or give them full discretion to act on your behalf. See the contents before you sign and keep a copy for yourself.
  • Be wary of media advertisements regarding legal representation for presumptive VA claims. Companies advertising legal services may be predatory and financially motivated to obtain your VA benefits.
  • If a company or individual is projecting misinformation or has questionable business practices regarding VA entitlements, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau.
  • To report suspected fraudulent activity, please contact the VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) Hotline (va.gov).
  • Veterans and survivors who think they might be eligible should apply for PACT Act benefits right now. Go to gov/PACT or call 1-800-MYVA411 for more information.

By protecting Veterans’ benefits against fraudulent activity, you can help honor their service and sacrifice.

Protecting Your Pact Act Benefits

Federal News

Starting January 17, Veterans in suicidal crisis can go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for free emergency health care

February 15th: Financial Mistakes to Avoid

February 23rd: Airborne Hazards and Burn Pits: What You Need to Know

Avoid PACT Act Scams

Don't skip a beat on your heart health

Hearing noises that aren't there? It could be tinnitus, Military Health System article

Seven things you need to know about VA Women's Health Reengagement Training

Live Whole Health #156: Go with the flow

Live Whole Health #157: The gift of your body

Prepare for Future Health Care Needs with VA's Advance Care Planning

VA Benefits Intro: Vet Tec Program

Prepare for college this summer at Warrior-Scholar Project academic boot camp

2023 National Poster Contest Open for submissions

Registration for Veterans Wheelchair Games opens Feb.1

Social Security Administration February Newsletter

Hire Vets Medallion Award applications are open

In tax season, how can Veterans maximize their tax benefits?

Super Bowl Flyover will honor 50 years of women flyers in the Navy, Military Times article

Community Partner News

For Your Information

The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs does not endorse the organizations sponsoring these events, and we do not endorse the views they express or the products/services they offer.  The views and opinions expressed in any referenced document do not necessarily state or reflect those of MDVA.  The information provided is intended for your general knowledge only, and serves solely as a MDVA community outreach effort.

Community News

Beginning Beekeeping Course for Veterans and First Responders. Register


Applications are now open for the Summer 2023 Dog Tag Fellowship Program


Black Service-members and Veterans Honored by Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs During Black History Month


Anne Arundel County and Howard County offer Transitioning Service Members, Military Spouses and Veterans career coaching and employment preparation.


Carroll County Bureau of Aging & Disabilities is offering Hands on Skills for Family Caregivers on February 25th


Hire Heroes USA will be hosting Women Veterans: Overcoming Institutional Gender Bias (virtual event) on Wednesday, February 15th, 2023 from 12 pm – 1 pm ET.  The event will include panelists who will provide first-hand experience on the transition into civilian employment as well as how to assert yourself in the workforce. Register


Baltimore Station Fundraiser

Here at The Baltimore Station, we are proud to announce we have been chosen as a featured non-profit for the Target Circle campaign! What does this mean exactly? Well to start, it means Target’s Cause Team believes in our mission as much as we do and believes that the work we are doing as an organization is impactful to our community. But it also means that our supporters, you, can give back in a way that costs you nothing and takes about 60 seconds! Read More Here

News from Community Building Art Works:

Wander with Wonder - February 16th at 7pm EST - Virtual

Join us this Thursday, February 16th at 7pm EST for a workshop with poet, Tarfia Faizullah, in our series in partnership with the Strathmore. How do we connect to wonder when our day-to-day lives don’t seem at all to allow for it? In this workshop, participants will explore ways to generate wonder on days it seems to be in short supply. The workshop will include looking at relevant poems, beginning your own, and doing some wandering, both figurative and literal. Register HERE.

Success as an Artist - March 9th at 7pm EST - Virtual

Have you thought about taking your art skills to the next level? Thinking about becoming a professional artist? Don't miss your chance to learn from Veteran and Artist, Martin Cervantez, on Thursday, March 9th at 7pm EST. Join this professional development fundraising workshop to benefit Community Building Art Works programs for veterans, service members, military families, and health care workers. This workshop is free for Veterans, Service Members, and Healthcare Workers. All ticket sales benefit CBAW's programs. This workshop will be recorded and a link will be e-mailed to all ticket holders once the recording is available for viewing. Register HERE.

More Than One Story - Monthly Virtual Program

Our monthly program for Women and Non-Binary Military begins on February 27th, but all interested individuals must attend an orientation to participate. If you are still interested, please attend an upcoming orientation. Visit www.cbaw.org/mtos for more details.

Visit www.cbaw.org to learn more about Community Building Art Works. For more information, email info@cbaw.org. See calendar of events.


Project Opportunity Announces Spring Classes - Free Entrepreneurial Training for Veterans

Prince George's County Orientation on March 8, 2023, Classes begin March 22nd

Montgomery County Orientation on February 27, 2023, Classes begin March 13th

Military Spouse Orientation on March 15, 2023. Classes begin on March 29th


Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day

Gilchrist's 5th Annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration

Community Calendar

February 11, 2023

Free Yoga Class for Emergency Responders & Military Personnel, Wor-Wic Community College

February 15, 2023

Women Veterans: Overcoming Institutional Gender Bias

February 16, 2023

Maryland's Commitment to Veterans: Working with Diverse Populations of Service Members, Veterans and their Families, Virtual

February 17, 2023

NABVETS Veterans Claims Clinic, Largo

February 18, 2023

NABVETS 23rd Annual Buffalo Soldiers Memorial Banquet, Baltimore

February 23, 2023

Free Hearing Screening for Veterans, American Legion Post 82, La Plata

VA: Airborne Hazards and Burn Pits: What You Need to Know

February 24, 2023

Mental Health First Aid Training, Frederick Register

VFW & Women Veterans United Committee, Inc.: 6th Annual On The Hill Program

February 25, 2023

Hands on Skills for Family Caregivers, Westminster

February 28, 2023

Hiring Our Heroes & The American Legion Career Event, Washington, DC

March 5, 2023

Howard County Library 1st Sundays Veteran Book Club, Online

March 15, 2023

Maryland Department of Labor Spring Job Fair, Baltimore

April 18, 2023

Military Officers & Spouses 2023 Job Fair, Arlington

Message for New Subscribers:

Is this your first edition of the MDVA newsletter?  If so, welcome!  You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up to receive it from our website or you gave permission to an MDVA program, the MD Motor Vehicle Administration or MD Department of Labor to receive information on VA benefits and resources.  We at MDVA respect your privacy and DO NOT share your email address.  We hope you enjoy receiving our bi-weekly newsletter and find it both educational and engaging.  If you have questions about our Department, our Programs, or your VA benefits, please visit veterans.maryland.gov or call 410-260-3838.