Citation Nr: 18160596
Decision Date: 12/28/18	Archive Date: 12/27/18

DOCKET NO. 16-18 367
DATE:	December 28, 2018
ORDER
The claim of entitlement to service connection for degenerative arthritis of the bilateral knees is dismissed.
The claim of entitlement to service connection for glaucoma is dismissed.
The claim of entitlement to service connection for a chronic cough (claimed as due to blood pressure medication) is dismissed.
The claim of entitlement to service connection for obstructive sleep apnea is dismissed.
The claim of entitlement to an initial compensable evaluation for service-connected plantar warts on the bilateral feet, prior to May 21, 2010, and thereafter is dismissed.
The claim of entitlement to an evaluation in excess of 20 percent disabling for service-connected lumbosacral strain, prior to May 21, 2010 and in excess of 20 percent disabling, thereafter is dismissed.

FINDING OF FACT
On December 13, 2018, the Board was notified by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office in Atlanta, Georgia, that the appellant passed away on December 2, 2018. 
CONCLUSION OF LAW
Due to the death of the appellant, the Board has no jurisdiction to adjudicate the merits of this appeal at this time.  38 U.S.C. § 7104 (a) (West 2014); 38 C.F.R. § 20.1302 (2018).
REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS
The Veteran had honorable active duty service with the United States Air Force from March 1974 to March 1996.
Unfortunately, the appellant passed away 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 appellant and must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.  See 38 U.S.C. § 7104 (a) (West 2014); 38 C.F.R. § 20.1302 (2018).
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 (2018). 
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 (West 2014); 38 C.F.R. § 3.1010 (b) (2018).  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 (West 2014); see 38 C.F.R. § 3.1010 (a) (2018).  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) (2018).
 
 B. MULLINS
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	N. Whitaker, 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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