Decision Date: 12/27/18	Archive Date: 12/26/18

DOCKET NO. 14-13 010
DATE:	December 27, 2018
ORDER
The appeal is dismissed.
FINDING OF FACT
On August 30, 2018, the Board was notified that the appellant died in August 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); 38 C.F.R. § 20.1302.
REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDING AND CONCLUSION
Unfortunately, the appellant died during the pendency of the appeal of the issue of the evaluation of posttraumatic stress disorder.  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.  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.  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; 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 (listed on the first page of this decision).  38 C.F.R. § 3.1010(b).  The Board notes a request for substitution was received in this case on November 2018.  Nonetheless, the appeal must be dismissed until substitution is granted.
 
ROBERT C. SCHARNBERGER
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	A. Rocktashel, Counsel 

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