Citation Nr: 18131307
Decision Date: 08/31/18	Archive Date: 08/31/18

DOCKET NO. 14-26 765
DATE:	August 31, 2018
ORDER
The issues of entitlement to service connection for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and entitlement to service connection for loss of vision are dismissed.
The issues of whether new and material evidence has been submitted for the claims of entitlement to service connection for prostate cancer, heart disease and diabetes mellitus with associated neuropathy of both arms and both legs, all claimed as secondary to herbicide exposure, are dismissed.
The issues of whether new and material evidence has been submitted for the claims of entitlement to service connection for erectile dysfunction, a skin disorder, bilateral hearing loss and a lung disorder (claimed as secondary to asbestos exposure) are dismissed.
FINDING OF FACT
In August 2017, while the Veteran’s 13 service connection claims were pending, and prior to the issuance of a final decision, the Veteran died.

CONCLUSION OF LAW
Due to the death of the appellant, the Board has no jurisdiction to adjudicate the merits of this case at this time.  38 U.S.C. § 7104(a); 38 C.F.R. § 20.1302; but see 38 U.S.C. § 5121A; 38 C.F.R. § 3.1010.
REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDING AND CONCLUSION
The Veteran appellant had active service in the United States Air Force from October 1964 to October 1968.  The Regional Office (RO) in Atlanta, Georgia certified the case to the Board.
Unfortunately, the Veteran died during the pendency of the case.  As a matter of law, claims do not survive a claimant’s death.  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 case has become moot by virtue of the death of the Veteran and therefore must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.  See 38 U.S.C. § 7104(a); 38 C.F.R. § 20.1302.
In reaching this determination, the Board intimates no opinion as to the merits of this case or to any derivative claim(s) brought by a survivor of the Veteran.  38 C.F.R. § 20.1106.  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. § 5121A; 38 C.F.R. § 3.1010(b).  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; see 38 C.F.R. § 3.1010(a).  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 (Atlanta, Georgia).  38 C.F.R. § 3.1010(b).  
The Board notes that the Veteran’s surviving spouse filed a claim for substitution in August 2017, along with a VA Form 21-530.  She is represented by the Georgia Department of Veterans Services.  The Board has initiated internal action to ensure her claim for substitution has been adjudicated by the RO.  
 
TANYA SMITH
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	M. Hannan, Counsel

For A Complete Guide To VA Disability Claims and to find out more about your potential VA disability case and how to obtain favorable VA Rating Decision! Visit: VA-Claims.org

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