Citation Nr: 18132207
Decision Date: 09/06/18	Archive Date: 09/06/18

DOCKET NO. 16-58 622A
DATE:	September 6, 2018
ORDER
Entitlement to an initial compensable rating for bilateral hearing loss is dismissed.
Entitlement to an effective date earlier than May 11, 2015, for the grant of service connection for bilateral hearing loss is dismissed.
FINDING OF FACT
VA received information that the Veteran died in October 2017.
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); 38 C.F.R. § 20.1302.
REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDING AND CONCLUSION
The Veteran served on active duty in the Navy from March 1976 to January 1980.  He was seeking a higher initial rating for bilateral hearing loss and an earlier affective date for the award of service connection for bilateral hearing loss.
Unfortunately, the Veteran died in October 2017, 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 Veteran and 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 appeal or to any derivative claim 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.  38 C.F.R. 3.1010(b).


(Continued on Next Page)
 
A. ISHIZAWAR
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	K.R.Fletcher, 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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