Citation Nr: 18160602
Decision Date: 12/27/18	Archive Date: 12/27/18

DOCKET NO. 16-35 946
DATE:	December 27, 2018
Entitlement to an initial compensable evaluation for bilateral hearing loss is dismissed.
In April 2017, prior to the promulgation of a decision by the Board, the Veteran died.  
Due to the death of the Veteran, the Board has no jurisdiction to adjudicate the merits of his appeal.  38 U.S.C. § 7104(a); 38 C.F.R. § 20.1302.
The Veteran served on active duty in the United States Navy from September 1971 to July 1975.
In October 2016, the Veteran attended a travel board hearing before the undersigned Veteran’s Law Judge (VLJ).
Unfortunately, the Veteran died during the pendency of the appeal.  Notification of death was verified with the Social Security Administration, as indicated in VACOLS (the Board’s computerized tracking system), with the date of death noted as April 19, 2017. 
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).  Thus, 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.
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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).  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).
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	L. Nelson, Associate Counsel 

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