Citation Nr: 18139659
Decision Date: 09/28/18	Archive Date: 09/28/18

DOCKET NO. 16-46 634
DATE:	September 28, 2018
ORDER
Entitlement to a rating greater than 70 percent for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is dismissed. 
The application to reopen a previously disallowed claim for service connection for hepatitis C is dismissed.
FINDING OF FACT
In August 2018, the Board was notified by the VA RO in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that the Veteran died earlier in the month.
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
The Veteran served on active duty from July 1967 to April 1972.
These matters come before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) on appeal from February 2010 and September 2016 rating decisions by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The February 2010 rating decision continued the 50 percent rating for PTSD and denied the Veteran’s request to reopen his claim for service connection for hepatitis C, finding no new and material evidence had been presented. The September 2016 rating decision granted a 70 percent rating for PTSD, effective January 6, 2010, the date the claim for the increase was received. 
Dismissal of the above-referenced claims before the Board 
Unfortunately, the Veteran 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 the death of the Veteran and must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. 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 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 appellant 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. 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); 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 Veteran should file a request for substitution with the VA office from which the claim originated. 38 C.F.R. § 3.1010 (b) (2017).

 
D. Martz Ames
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	N. Stevens, Associate 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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