DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS


The Department of Veterans Affairs was established in October 1999 (Chapter 125, Acts of 1999). The Department oversees the Maryland Veterans Commission, the Maryland Veterans Home Commission, and the War Memorial Commission.

OFFICE OF SECRETARY

The Department is headed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Appointed by the Governor with Senate advice and consent, the Secretary must be an honorably discharged veteran. The Secretary serves on the Governor's Executive Council, the Interdepartmental Advisory Committee for Minority Affairs, and the Governor's Commission on Maryland Military Monuments.

ADMINISTRATION & OPERATIONS

Administration and Operations oversees the Veterans Cemetery Program, and the Veterans Memorials and Monuments Program. The Veterans Cemetery Program operates in five counties. The Veterans Memorials and Monuments Program is based in Baltimore.

VETERANS CEMETERY PROGRAM
In 1973, the Maryland Veterans Commission was authorized to acquire cemetery sites for honorably discharged Maryland veterans and their immediate families (Chapter 504, Acts of 1973). Since State land would be used, funds were authorized in 1974 to develop cemeteries rather than to acquire sites (Chapter 775, Acts of 1974).

Through the Veterans Cemetery Program, the Commission operates five cemeteries for veterans and their dependents. The Commission sets eligibility requirements for burial. The cemeteries are located in Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Dorchester and Prince George's counties. A permanent registry of graves of all who served in the U.S. military or naval forces in time of war and who are buried in Maryland also is maintained by the Commission (Code State Government Article, secs. 9-913 through 9-914).

VETERANS MEMORIALS & MONUMENTS PROGRAM The Veterans Memorials and Monuments Program was established in 1989 to operate, maintain, secure, and preserve veterans memorials and monuments (Chapter 790, Acts of 1989). All are open to the public 365 days a year. They are operated and cared for by the Maryland Veterans Commission (Code State Government Article, sec. 9-915).

Maryland Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Middle Branch Park
2825 South Hanover St.
Baltimore, MD 21225

Maryland Korean War Memorial
Canton Waterfront Park
2903 Boston St.
Baltimore, MD 21224

Maryland World War II Memorial
Route 450 at Naval Academy Bridge
1920 Ritchie Highway
Annapolis, MD 21401

MARYLAND VETERANS COMMISSION

Federal Building, Room 110
31 Hopkins Plaza
Baltimore, MD 21201

Origins of the Maryland Veterans Commission trace to 1924, when the Soldiers' Relief Fund Commission formed to administer a State relief fund for disabled veterans of World War I (Chapter 344, Acts of 1924). The Commission became the Veterans Relief Commission in 1929 (Chapter 134, Acts of 1929). It was renamed the Maryland Veterans Commission in 1935 (Chapter 481, Acts of 1935). In 1971, the Commission joined the Department of Employment and Social Services, which was renamed the Department of Human Resources in 1975 (Chapters 370 and 617, Acts of 1971). In 1977, the Commission was made an independent agency (Chapter 895, Acts of 1977). With the Maryland Veterans Home Commission and the War Memorial Commission, the Maryland Veterans Commission became part of the Department of Veterans Affairs in October 1999 (Chapter 125, Acts of 1999).

The Commission serves Maryland veterans and their dependents through the Veterans Service Program. The Program is conducted through veterans service centers across the State. Washington Cemetery (a Civil War cemetery in Hagerstown) also is overseen by the Commission.

Twenty-eight Maryland veterans comprise the Commission. Twenty-seven are appointed to seven-year terms by the Governor. One serves ex officio. The Governor names the Chair and appoints the Director (Code State Government Article, secs. 9-904 through 9-914).

VETERANS SERVICE PROGRAM
The Veterans Service Program is concerned with veteran benefits. These include education, home loans, insurance, pensions, and compensation for service-related disabilities, as well as benefits for health care, burial, and surviving family members. Through the Program, the Maryland Veterans Commission advises, assists, and represents Maryland veterans, their dependents, and survivors seeking federal, State and local veteran benefits. It helps them develop, prepare, submit, and approve claims for these benefits enumerated by federal, State and local law. To achieve these purposes, veterans service centers operate throughout the State.

Trained in veteran laws and regulations, Veterans Service officers present and prosecute claims before the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. They represent claimants by power-of-attorney through the adjudication and appellate processes.

MARYLAND VETERANS HOME COMMISSION

c/o Charlotte Hall Veterans Home
29449 Charlotte Hall Road
Charlotte Hall, MD 20622

The Maryland Veterans Home Commission was created in 1975 to provide a home for veterans in Maryland (Chapter 575, Acts of 1975). In 1999, the Commission became part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (Chapter 125, Acts of 1999). Charlotte Hall Veterans Home at Charlotte Hall, St. Mary's County, is maintained, managed, and governed by the Commission.

The Commission has fifteen members. Eleven are named to four-year terms by the Governor with Senate advice and consent. Four serve ex officio (Code State Government Article, secs. 9-917 through 9-928).

CHARLOTTE HALL VETERANS HOME
29449 Charlotte Hall Road
Charlotte Hall, MD 20622

Charlotte Hall Veterans Home includes a domiciliary and residential-care wing (opened in January 1985), a comprehensive nursing-care wing (opened in March 1986), and a comprehensive-care wing, including a specialized unit for Alzheimer's care (opened in 1993). Applications for residency in the Home may be secured from the Commission or the Home.

WAR MEMORIAL COMMISSION

War Memorial Building
Gay and Lexington Sts.
Baltimore, MD 21202

Authorization for the War Memorial Commission was enacted in 1924 (Chapter 537, Acts of 1924). In 1970, the Commission became part of the Department of General Services. It transferred to the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1999 (Chapter 125, Acts of 1999).

The Commission has custody and supervision of the War Memorial Building and the War Memorial Plaza. Both were erected in Baltimore City to honor Maryland veterans of World War I. Maintenance costs are shared equally by the State and the City of Baltimore. The Building is open and available for meetings of veterans' groups and patriotic societies, and for civic gatherings, provided that no collection or donation is taken nor any admission charged.

The Commission's ten members serve five-year terms. Five are appointed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs with the Governor's approval, and five by the Mayor of Baltimore (Code State Government Article, secs. 9-931 through 9-935).

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 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2000

July 18, 2000   
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