Veterans of past wars dating to World War II are inundating federal courts with disability appeals as they age and their conditions worsen. But the courts will face an explosion of appeals within two to three years as hundreds of thousands of disabled Iraq and Afghanistan veterans file disability claims for a vast array of physical and mental injuries.

“It has to be coming in almost tidal-wave proportions,” says Paul Michel, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. “We’ve had over the past decade some real peaks and valleys in veterans’ cases. We have what looks to be a peak that keeps rising.”

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