Citation Nr: 18124054
Decision Date: 08/06/18	Archive Date: 08/03/18

DOCKET NO. 15-02 104
DATE:	August 6, 2018
ORDER
The May 31, 2018, Board decision addressing the Veteran’s claims of entitlement to service connection for hypertension, diabetes mellitus, type II, a right eye disability, congestive heart failure, and entitlement to TDIU is vacated in its entirety.
FINDING OF FACT
The Veteran died in May 2018, prior to the promulgation of the May 31, 2018, Board decision addressing his claims of service connection for hypertension, diabetes mellitus, type II, a right eye disability, congestive heart failure, and entitlement to TDIU.
CONCLUSION OF LAW
The May 31, 2018, Board decision addressing the Veteran’s claims of entitlement to service connection for hypertension, diabetes mellitus, type II, a right eye disability, congestive heart failure, and entitlement to TDIU is vacated in its entirety.  38 U.S.C. §§ 7103(c), 7104(a) (2012); 38 C.F.R. § 20.904 (2017).
REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDING AND CONCLUSION
The Veteran served on active duty from July 1974 to August 1982.
This matter comes before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) from a March 2013 rating decision.  
In March 2018, the Veteran testified at a videoconference hearing before the undersigned Veteran’s Law Judge (VLJ).  A copy of the transcript is of record.
By a decision promulgated May 31, 2018, the Board found that new and material evidence had been received to reopen claims of entitlement to service connection for hypertension and diabetes mellitus, type II, and remanded claims of entitlement to service connection for hypertension, diabetes mellitus, type II, a right eye disability, congestive heart failure, and entitlement to TDIU for further development, to include obtaining VA examinations and medical opinions. 
The Board may vacate an appellate decision at any time upon request of the appellant or his or her representative, or on the Board’s own motion, when an appellant has been denied due process of law, or when benefits were allowed based on false or fraudulent evidence.  38 U.S.C. § 7104(a) (2012); 38 C.F.R. § 20.904 (2017). 
In this case, the Veteran died in May 2018, prior to the promulgation of the May 31, 2018, Board decision.  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).  Because of the death of the Veteran in May 2018, the Board lacked jurisdiction on May 31, 2018, to adjudicate his appellate claims.  Accordingly, the May 31, 2018, decision is hereby vacated.
In reaching the determinations above, the Board intimates no opinion as to the merits of the claims on appeal or any derivative claim brought by a survivor of the Veteran.  38 C.F.R. § 20.1106. 
For claimants who died on or after October 10, 2008, (as is the case here), the Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2008, Pub. L. No. 110-389, § 212, 122 Stat. 4145, 4151 (2008) created new 38 U.S.C. § 5121A, which permits an eligible person to file a request to be substituted as the Appellant for purposes of processing the claim to completion.  In this case, the record reflects that in July 2018, the RO determined that the Veteran’s spouse was the proper person to be substituted as the claimant in the Veteran’s claim for VA benefits, which was pending at the time of his death.
The Board will address the merits of the appellate claim with the Veteran’s spouse as the substituted party in a separate decision.  

 
K. PARAKKAL
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	S. Owen, 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

For More Information on Veterans Disability Compensation Benefits! Visit: DisableVeteran.org ~ A Non-Profit Non Governmental Agency

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.