Citation Nr: 18160555
Decision Date: 12/27/18	Archive Date: 12/27/18

DOCKET NO. 16-41 580
DATE:	December 27, 2018
Entitlement to service connection for lumbar L4-L5 disc degeneration is dismissed.
Entitlement to service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder, to include posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, unspecified depressive disorder, and unspecified alcohol-related disorder (also claimed as personality disorder and psychotic depressive reaction) is dismissed.
1. The Veteran died in March 2018.
2. An August 2018 Order from the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court) dismissed the appeal of the Board’s September 2017 decision for lack of jurisdiction.
Due to the death of the appellant, the Board has no jurisdiction to adjudicate the merits of this case at this time. 38 U.S.C. § 7104(a); 38 C.F.R. § 20.1302; but see 38 U.S.C. § 5121A; 38 C.F.R. § 3.1010. 
The Veteran served on active duty from January 1983 to April 1990.  This matter comes before the Board on appeal from a December 2014 Regional Office (RO) rating decision.  In February 2017, the Veteran testified at a hearing before the undersigned Veterans Law Judge.
Unfortunately, the Veteran died during the pendency of the case.  As a matter of law, claims do not survive a claimant’s death.  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 case has become moot by virtue of the death of the Veteran and therefore 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 case or to any derivative claim(s) 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 agency of original jurisdiction (in this case, the RO in St. Petersburg, Florida).  38 C.F.R. § 3.1010(b).
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	Elizabeth Jalley, Counsel 

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