Citation Nr: 1736558	
Decision Date: 08/31/17    Archive Date: 09/06/17

DOCKET NO.  07-03 219A	)	DATE

On appeal from the
Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Winston-Salem, North Carolina


Entitlement to service connection for a left eye condition, to include mydriasis, decreased vision, maculopathy, lenticular sclerosis, optic neuropathy, asymmetry of the C/D ration of the left eye, conjunctivitis, chalazion, cataracts of the left eye, and macular degeneration of the left eye.


Appellant represented by:	The American Legion


S. Layton, Counsel


The Veteran served on active duty from September 1951 to March 1954.

This matter comes to the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board) on appeal from a September 2005 decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


On August 23, 2017, the Board was notified by the Social Security Administration that the appellant died in July 2017.


Due to the death of the appellant, the Board has no jurisdiction to adjudicate the merits of this appeal at this time.  38 U.S.C.A. § 7104(a) (West 2014); 38 C.F.R. § 20.1302 (2016). 


Unfortunately, the appellant died during the pendency of the appeal.  As a matter of law, appellants' claims do not survive their deaths.  Zevalkink v. Brown, 102 F.3d 1236, 1243-44 (Fed. Cir. 1996); Smith v. Brown, 10 Vet. App. 330, 333-34 (1997); Landicho v. Brown, 7 Vet. App. 42, 47 (1994).  This appeal on the merits has become moot by virtue of the death of the appellant and must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.  See 38 U.S.C.A. § 7104(a) (West 2014); 38 C.F.R. § 20.1302 (2016).

In reaching this determination, the Board intimates no opinion as to the merits of this appeal or to any derivative claim brought by a survivor of the Veteran.  38 C.F.R. § 20.1106 (2016).  

The Board's dismissal of this appeal does not affect the right of an eligible person to file a request to be substituted as the appellant for purposes of processing the claim to completion.  Such request must be filed not later than one year after the date of the appellant's death.  See 38 U.S.C.A. § 5121A (West 2014); 38 C.F.R. § 3.1010(b) (2016).  A person eligible for substitution includes "a living person who would be eligible to receive accrued benefits due to the claimant under section 5121(a) of this title ...."  38 U.S.C.A. § 5121A (West 2014); see 38 C.F.R. § 3.1010(a) (2016).  An eligible party seeking substitution in an appeal that has been dismissed by the Board due to the death of the claimant should file a request for substitution with the VA office from which the claim originated (listed on the first page of this decision).  38 C.F.R. § 3.1010(b) (2016). 


The appeal is dismissed.

Nathaniel J. Doan
	Veterans Law Judge, Board of Veterans' Appeals

Department of Veterans Affairs


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