Citation Nr: 1829828	
Decision Date: 08/29/18    Archive Date: 09/05/18

DOCKET NO. 16-60 510	)	DATE
	)
	)

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


THE ISSUES

1. Whether new and material evidence has been submitted to reopen claim of entitlement for service connection for congenital hammertoes.

2. Whether new and material evidence has been received to reopen a claim of entitlement to service connection for a bilateral leg disability.

3. Entitlement to service connection for a bilateral hip disability.


REPRESENTATION

Veteran represented by:	Disabled American Veterans


ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD

J. Sandler, Associate Counsel

INTRODUCTION

The Veteran served on active duty from December 1963 to June 1964. He died in July 2018.

This matter comes before the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board) on appeal from a May 2015 rating decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 


FINDING OF FACT

In August 2018, the Board was notified by the VA Regional Office in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, that the Veteran died in July 2018.


CONCLUSION OF LAW

Due to the death of the Veteran, the Board has no jurisdiction to adjudicate the merits of this appeal at this time. 38 U.S.C. § 7104(a) (2012); 38 C.F.R. § 20.1302 (2017). 


REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDING AND CONCLUSION

Unfortunately, the Veteran died during the pendency of the appeal. As a matter of law, Veterans' 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 Veteran and must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. See 38 U.S.C. § 7104(a) (2012); 38 C.F.R. § 20.1302 (2017).

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 (2017). 

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 Veteran for purposes of processing the claim to completion. Such request must be filed not later than one year after the date of the Veteran's death. See 38 U.S.C. § 5121A (2012); 38 C.F.R. § 3.1010(b) (2017). 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. § 5121A (2012); see 38 C.F.R. § 3.1010(a) (2017). 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) (2017). 


ORDER

The appeal is dismissed.




		
E. I. VELEZ
	Veterans Law Judge, Board of Veterans' Appeals

Department of Veterans Affairs

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