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Michigan Unemployment Eligibility

Updated : June 20th, 2019

In order to be entitled for unemployment benefits in Michigan you must meet the following requirements.

Non-Monetary Eligibility

  • You must be unemployed for no fault of your own
  • You must be able to, available for and keenly looking for suitable full-time work
  • You must also register for work within 2 to 3 business days of applying for benefits by filing your resume with the Michigan Talent Bank and by reporting to your local Michigan Works! Agency (MWA) Center, unless instructed otherwise by BW&UC staff
  • You must quit your job for a good cause “attributable to the employer”
  • You must not be terminated from your work for misconduct

Monetary Eligibility

The BW&UC (Bureau of Workers’ and Unemployment Compensation) will see your standard base period (first four of the last five completed calendar quarters prior to when you filed your claim) to decide if your earnings qualify you for jobless benefits.

In case you cannot qualify based on your standard base period, the bureau will verify your earnings in the “alternate” base period, which is the four most recently completed calendar quarters.

There are two ways in which your earnings may qualify you for unemployment benefits:

“Regular” qualifying method:

  • One quarter in your base period must have wages of at least $1,998; and
  • Total wages for all four quarters must equal at least one and a half times the highest amount of wages paid in any quarter of the base period


Alternate Earnings Qualifier (AEQ):

  • You must have wages in at least two quarters; and
  • Total wages for all four quarters must equal at least 20 times the state average weekly wage (SAWW)

Eligibility Questions

Can I qualify for benefits if I quit?

If you quit your job without having a good cause “attributable to the employer”, then you will be “disqualified” from receiving unemployment benefits. You must then get another job and have earnings with that employer to “requalify” for benefits. But the employer from whom you quit will not be charged for the benefits, even if you requalify and draw benefits.

By law, you must show that you left the job for a reason that would cause a reasonable person, under similar conditions, to leave the job.

In some cases, a physical condition or illness prevents from continuing to work and the employer, when requested, cannot offer the worker a job within the worker’s capacity. In those cases, the quit may be classified as “involuntary” and you will not be disqualified for quitting. However, you must still be able to work at a job you are qualified to do, by past experience or training, to be eligible for benefits.

Proof of Hearing: If either the employer or the unemployed worker appeals the case to an Administrative Law Judge, the employer must first prove that the worker quit the job. The worker must then prove that the employer was at fault for the quit because of something the employer did, or allowed to happen, in the workplace.

The Unemployment Insurance Agency Advocacy Program can provide help to employers and unemployed worker in preparing for Administrative Law Judge and/or Board of Review hearings on this issue. Call 1-800-638-3994.

Can I draw benefits if I am fired?

If you are fired from a job due to misconduct that occurred in connection with the work, then you will be “disqualified” from benefits. You must then get another job and have earnings with that employer to “requalify” for benefits. But the employer from whom you were fired will not be charged for benefits, even if you requalify and draw benefits.

Example: If a worker is repeatedly absent or tardy from work, without justifiable excuse, the worker could be disqualified from obtaining benefits. If a worker is terminated based on arrest occurring on worker’s own time and not related with work, then the worker would not be disqualified.

If a worker is discharged for being unable to meet production quotas, but is otherwise a cooperative worker, that worker will possibly not be disqualified from collecting unemployment benefits.

Proof of Hearing: If either the employer or the jobless worker appeals the case to an Administrative Law Judge, then the employer must confirm that the worker engaged in misconduct and that the misconduct occurred in connection with the work. Except in the gravest offenses, the employer must also prove that the worker was aware of the employer’s work rules and that the actions of the worker were harmful to the employer.

The Unemployment Insurance Agency Advocacy Program can offer help to employers and/or jobless workers in preparing for an Administrative Law Judge hearing on this issue. Call 1-8000-638-3994.

Can I collect benefits if I am laid off?

Usually, in Michigan you have become jobless through no fault of your own in order to collect unemployment. When you get laid-off, it is not your fault.

In almost all cases, this means that if you get laid-off, you are qualified to collect unemployment benefits.

If you get laid-off from your job, you should directly apply for unemployment benefits.

Getting laid-off doesn’t mean that you were fired or you did something wrong. Getting laid-off means that the company that you worked for did not have sufficient work for you to do, and could no longer afford to pay you to do your job.

Can a pregnant worker draw UI if she is placed on a leave of absence?

If a pregnant worker is placed on a obligatory maternity leave of absence she will not be denied unemployment benefits while on the leave, as long as she remains able to work during the leave.

More Questions?? —-> Read Eligibility Q & A Section

Want to know about how much you will receive?? —–>Calculate your benefits here

  1. If a company at last minute decides to close the for a normal paid day near a holiday and you are forced to take vacation or forfeit your pay, are you eligible for unemployment for that day. State of Michigan.

  2. Company is having downtime for 2 weeks and only a select few are working during that time. Normal production will resume and all remaining employees will return to work following the 2 weeks. Are the ones that aren’t working those two weeks eligible for unemployment?

    1. I am not sure if you will be eligible for a temp. downtime.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to inquire about eligibility under such circumstances.

  3. I have been working in my job for 22 years and was recently told that I would have to sign up for school and get an associates degree in the next 2 years to keep my job. I have to be enrolled in the next month or I will not have my job anymore. Would I be able to collect if I decide not to go to school.

    1. It can be considered voluntary. Please call the Unemployment Office in your state for further advice before deciding.

  4. I was a seasonal (contract) worker and got hurt on the job. I had surgery to fix the problem and my contract ended in December of 2016. I am now recovering from my surgery and full recovery for me isn’t until April of this year. Can I collect unemployment? Even though I will not be able to work for another few months?

    1. Unfortunately, UI benefits are only offered to those who are able and available for work.

      Since the injury was at the workplace, please explore the benefits available under Workers comp. scheme.

  5. I was a business owner of a advertising paper that had to close due to declining revenue since 2008. this was a family business shared with 2 other partners & 2 part time employees. our corporation has been in business for over 40 years and has paid in to the unemployment every year. the reason for closing was all based on the internet, more & more advertisers each year were moving there business to the internet and not print!! 1) do I qualify for unemployment? 2) do I qualify for job retraining & unemployment during the training program? thank you john

    1. I am not sure if business owners will qualify for the Unemployment Insurance program.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further information.

  6. my job has located to Romulus, I live in Whitmore Lake. i moved here because i was able to walk to & from work. I couldn’t make the move to Romulus as I have no transportation. can I file?

    1. You may not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

      Please call the Unemployment Office for further details in this regard.

  7. I have been employed for just over 2 months. I was fired because I was unable to keep up with the demand. I have had no formal training and was just thrown into my position. Employer was well aware of my capabilities before I was hired. What would I qualify for?
    One thing about this company is that have so much turnover that my position has not been held more than 6 months by anyone because of unrealistic demands.
    I also notified them of a surgery scheduled and that I would need a few days off. They stated that if I took more than three days off that there would be no guarantee that my job would be secured because I was under my 90 days. I then would have to work 6-7 days a week to make up days lost after surgery. Can they do that?

    1. Unfortunately, personal reasons are not considered. However, there can be exceptions.

      Please call the Unemployment Office to clarify.

  8. I recently fell off my roof and have been placed on FMLA (Leave of Absence). I was a part time employee and I have no disability insurance. Since I am being put on FMLA can I collect unemployment insurance

    1. I am sorry to hear about your case. Hope you get well soon.

      Unemployment Insurance is only extended to those who’re able and available for work. Due to your health condition, you may not qualify. Please check with the authorities.

  9. I am under the age of 60 and have worked 30 years for my employer. Our office policy states we are eligible to retire after 25 years. If I take the voluntary retirement would I be able to collect Michigan Unemployment benefits?

  10. I have worked for the same company for 11 years. I am in my senior year of college and Im required to do an internship. I have asked my employer to allow me to use any personal or vacation time I have to complete my intern. They have denied my request and now my only option is to resign. Will I be eligible to receive any unemployment benefits until I find another job?

    1. You will not be eligible since unemployment insurance is only extended to those who become unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  11. What would be considered a “hostile” work environment? I have been being verbally bullied for 2 months, have talked to superviors about it, who said “they would handle it” and nothing has changed.

  12. My employer has threatened to fire me because I am not performing to the standard they see fit. However, was given only an hour of training when I took the job and my supervisor works remotely and is often not available. When she is available, she has been vague with directions and seems to be avoiding meeting with me in person when she does come into the office.

    Her supervisor gets frustrated with me because of things that could have been solved if communication was better. I’ve explained this to HR and things haven’t improved. I feel like I am stuck and am obviously not appreciated for the work I do here.

    If fired, would I qualify for unemployment?

    1. Well, this is a sensitive issue.

      If you’re fired, it may be considered voluntary and people who leave due to performance issues are not eligible for UI benefits. Please keep all supporting documents handy to prove it was not your fault if you’re fired.

  13. I have been consecutively employed for the last 2 years, one year at each employer. I left my first employer after 12 months to work at my current employer. I have been with my current employer for a year but they have indicted that they are laying our department off this Friday. Do I qualify for UIA benefits? I have been employed with each employer exactly 12 months with no break in employment.

    1. Yes, you should be eligible as long as the reason for leaving is involuntary.

      Please consider applying until you find a new job.

  14. Currently, I am a salaried employee that typically worked 10 months out of the year. The employer recently gave us an option to spread the pay which would divide to salary over 12 months instead of 10 months. I was one that decided to take my salary this way this year. Usually I save my own money in the bank and spread the pay myself, but this year I allowed my job to use the spread the pay bank for me. Recently I received a layoff notice. My question is can I file unemployment as I will still receive the money that is already earned and would have been paid to me in 10 months had I not used the spread the pay bank option this year). The money is already earned and would have been paid to me already.

    1. You can claim after the balance payout is done.

      Please confirm with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  15. i have worked at my job for 9 years and me and the manager had a few choice of words. then after the words we both went back to work i id not swear or threaten my manager but i felt like it was wrong and disrespectful for her not to pull me to the side and talk to me about the situations but instead they fronted me off in front of staff. also after the disagreement we both went back to doing our jobs. i finished my shift. the next afternoon i got a call saying i was fired from her manager nothing was put into writing i was one of there best employees and he said if it was left up to him he would not fire me but the she told the building manager that i had got out of control and no one asked me for a statement or my side of the story i have never got into any trouble on my job before and i feel like for them not to give me a pink slip and to also let me finish out my job the night before with out any write ups at all was wrong. can i collect unemployment

    1. Well, this is a sensitive situation. If you feel it was not justified, please consider filing for UI benefits.

      Make sure to keep supporting documents handy in case of a dispute.

  16. Michigan resident. I worked for a company for almost one-and-a-half years. They recently sold the company. I was paid through the date of the sale plus two weeks’ severance pay. A co-worker is starting a new company, asked me to join; I said yes. After only 2 weeks, the other employees quit, basically leaving us without a company – no technicians, no work! Can I apply for unemployment and who would it fall under – the long-term employer (now sold) or my recent employer of only 2 weeks.

    1. You should be able to apply and claim on the basis of your long term employer.

      Please speak to the Unemployment Office in your state and apply accordingly.

  17. If I am the owner of a business and we are losing our lease and can not relocate can I collect unemployment?

    1. Not sure if business owners are eligible.

      Please check with the Unemployment Office in your state by calling them.

    1. Some states allow both. Please call the Unemployment Office in MI to confirm if you can be eligible for UI and apply accordingly.

  18. I had to leave my job because I didn’t pass my certification test. I think its a fire because I had to leave but I understood because I wasn’t qualified for job anymore. They told me it was my last day then called back and offered a sub position which is much less then what I was making. I refused the position and wanted to look for a job myself. By refusing the position they offered me much lower then I was making, would that disqualify me for unemployment?

  19. My employer of 5 years, I work P.T.20-24 hrs. a week, just told me my hours will be cut to 4 hr’s.a week. The job/income is not worth 4 hrs. pay a week! I desperately need the income. I work another job at 20/24 hrs. a week in make a 40 hrs. week income with no benefits. Can I quit the 4 hr. job and collect UI benefits while seek another 20/24 hrs. a week position?

    1. Instead of quitting voluntarily and seeking UI benefits, please apply for partial benefits towards the reduced hours.

      If you resign voluntarily, you will not qualify.

  20. I have been working full time for my employer but I haven’t been paid in a month. The company keeps promising to pay but they have missed two consecutive payrolls now. Will I still receive benefits even though I am still working?

    1. Please check with the labor authorities in your state.

      Some states do provide Unemployment Compensation for such situations.

  21. What if your company is moving an hour away from where they are at now. If I don’t go with them can I still collect unemployment?

    1. If you quit based on the distance, you may not qualify.

      Please call the claims center/customer service of the labor dept. in your state for further information.

  22. I worked for a school system for 20 years and I got hurt at work. I been out of work for over a year and dealing with a workers comp case. I was told I couldn’t claim since I have a workers comp. case still pending. SO what is the truth? I did go to manpower to see about getting another job, but due to my work restrictions no one will hire me.

  23. I am wanting to quit my job due a resident coming after me with a knife and after being in the hospital they are releasing him back. No job is worth my life. Will I be able to apply for unemployment?

    1. If the work conditions are hostile, you can claim.

      Please consult the claims center of the labor dept in your and apply accordingly.

  24. I quit my job to move 6 hours away and I felt I could no longer do the job required of me. I was having health issues but the doctor wasn’t any help. Would I get unemployment?

    1. Personal reasons like health do not generally qualify.

      UI is provided to only those who are jobless for involuntary reasons.

  25. I was with an employer for 9 months and consistently employed for 3+ years. I had a pending legal issue and was eventually incarcerated for a term of 6 months . Am I eligible to file and collect unemployment benefits until I am able to find work again

  26. I recently resigned from my job of over ten years to live two hours away in a different town, and for school purposes. I have had four interviews so far, yet no employment. Would I qualify for unemployment benefits?

  27. Im writing again about being out sourced at my job and know one is giving me straight answers.I need to know if I put the applicating in for my own job and he wants to interview do I have to take the interview and if I do and he wants to higher me do I have to take it or is that a refusel of work.The reason I keep asking is the pay I will get is 2-5 dollars less then what im making.i need to know aS soon as possible

  28. what if the other job your applying for offeres you less money and no or little benfits. I wrote earlier about being out sourced .

  29. we are getting pink slipped from the place I work because were getting outsourced by another company.Do I have to apply with company they said they would reinterview us ? or can im just take mt pink slip and go ?And if I do take the interview and decide I don’t want to work for them is any of theses things a refusel of work ? please let me know on my email as soon as possible.

  30. I work at a casino. If hey where to fire me for pattern call offs even with a dr note stating I was unable to work for the days I missed would I be able to get unemployment

  31. i have a return to work slip from my doctor with restrictions i can perform 80% of my job without a problem but my employer will not let me return to work until restrictions are lifted can i get unemployment for the time that i am off

  32. I’ve been with my job/employer for 15 years and i was told i needed to take some time off and maybe for good from my doctor.The doctor wanted me to stop immediately but I explained I needed to let my work know and I needed to show them what needed to be done and basically how. You see, Every year on my vacation I’d take a week of vacation at a time not my 3 weeks I have and I never took the whole time I had because no one was qualified to do my job and the truckers would get very upset that the people filling in made a mess and it effected their time and pay and it would take days to get everything back to the way it was and the way it should of been. Now,I let them know the next day and stated the doctor said its possible that i might not be able to go back to work and that he said I’d might have to find a job where my hands and arms weren’t being used as like with my job and that he said I may not be able to return to work, any work but, i wanted to try to see if the time off would help. I have been seeing the doctor for awhile and I have had surgery on both hands and twice on my right hand and arm in the past. after i let them know rumors started to go around but I work mainly alone and I see the truck drivers and I might see one of the two people if I need help like, when the machine caught fire and the proper fire equipment was empty so I needed someone to go find an fire extinguisher or when the machine breaks down etc. Now a week after I told the front office at my Job something happened that shocked me and some of the other employees, about a week ago i had a thing of wire and I put it on the back of the machine like I’ve done before, you see there’s certain things that will mess up the machine and when these things are in a trailer load it gets dumped and if I see it I’ll get off and pick it up and put on the back of the machine or if too big I have to put it in an space where I can get it later and dispose of it put where it needs to go.There is times that the different things have messed up the machine and then I have to call and get someone to help and take it to be fixed and it means more work for me and more time for the company and everything has a certain way its to be and it can mess up and costs hundreds and even thousands of dollars and then I have to use a machine that isn’t made to do it, any way I went at the end of the day and did my routine and I see the wires gone and one of the guys came and told me that he came and got it, and by him that is the manager from the front, so I did wonder why but who knows. I go to clock out and I see he had the wire in his personal truck,[ not the work truck] and it was in the back of it and no one knew why, well I picked it up and took it where it belongs. We only have 2 bag boxes up front, one for trash and one for scrap metals,but scraps metals get in the back sometimes by being in a big trailer [ the big semi trucks with the long trailers comes from all over other cities and towns and business’s and, gets disposed in the back but, only people locally who bring their house trash and local companies that have metals and scraps get emptied into the upfront bag boxes so, I couldn’t think why he got it and put in his personal truck.A couple days later his right hand guy calls me and tells me that he wanted me to get the wire and put back in his truck[personal truck] and I told him, I already took care of it, it was in the land fill of course and I told him to have the guy call me and I asked why did he take it anyway and why when I was off and away from my machine and he said he told him he tried to call me, the only call from him was one and my phone records show he called me once in three weeks[ ifanyone calls me when i’m off my machine hooking a chain or doing a load or covering that I can not hear the phone.] I called him and for 2 days no answer and then I went to work like usualand two hours later he told me I was fired and the only reason given is I didn’t do as he told me or I should say, what the other guy he had tell me said and I informed him he did not answer my calls and he didn’t come and talk to me, nothing. Well, I asked what I didn’t do that he told me to, he said you didn’t put that wire back in my truck. So fifteen years of nothing but hard work done. Back a few years they even had me, well ask me if I would help do a training video, the company I work for or worked for is a big co. and in other states. I did it, they shot me doing the correct way and how so they could train and use it, know I’m fired. well some of the other employees started to call and come by and said this was done because of me looking for a new job and they weren’t going to let me be off for me to use the time to find another job,he didn’t believe there was any health reasons.I don’t believe all I was told but, I do have morals and I have always worked since I was twelve yrs. old. I did stop working there several years ago because of an employee in management was not doing his job and would scream at the employees and I was asked to come back and they would pay me the same with a fifty cent raise and I earned 3 weeks vacation cause I was there over five years and my vacation would be the same and there would not be any employment break, meaning the few weeks I was gone was not a break in employment so, I was there ten years and when they asked me back I went back as a ten year employee so when I was back there five years it meant 15 years. Sorry to give all the story but I never had to get unemployment and I do not know how, what I do know is I’ve worked all my life and gave this company over fifteen years of hard work, I get up, well got up at #am every day and got to work at 5am to 5:15am and work till 8pm or 4pm and work a Saturday if we need to and I use to work till 6 to 7pm six days a week the first several years and on the day we do the prison and I have to be there at 3:30am, I’ve never did anything but work hard.Now this. I don not know if I can go back to work, any work, it is my hands and arms and the doctor has discussed with me that I may have to accept the fact that I can not work at all. All I wanted was to take a short rest from work and try to go back, they can check with my doctor that he said no work for a bit and I said they needed to show who ever how to do it, meaning they tell me who and I would show them what to do and with the spring thaw coming they have a tough time ahead. After knowing all this can I get unemployment and how do I? Thank you.

    1. You must have a lot of patience to write a big para. Life is sometimes not as complicated as we think it is.There is no harm in claiming UI benefits.

      If you are unable to work due to health reasons,please look at other state sponsored benefits such as Workman’s comp.Otherwise be best educated on UI benefits and file for it.

  33. I thought a college student working part time does not qualify for unemployment benefits. What is the requirement or process and qualifies someone for unemployment

    1. My hours have been reduced to 20 hours from 40 a week. can I file for unemployment ? I still have vacation time left do my employer have to pay me the remainder of my vacation time before I file?

        1. You may be asked for supporting documents when you file for UI.

          Please check with the labor dept in MI on this.

      1. You can apply for reduction in hours worked.

        Not sure if available vacation time will affect UI benefits.Please check with the labor dept in your state.

    1. Please let us know the date and mode of filing.Otherwise,you may also call the claims center helpline to get the most up to date status.
      We are not a govt. organisation and do not have access to specific claims.

  34. My son has worked for the same company for over 15 years. He recently took a big pay cut. Is he able to file for unemployment? TY!

    1. Unemployment insurance is available to those who loose their job due to no fault of their own.If your son is looking at quitting the company voluntarily,he may not be eligible for these benefits.

  35. I was employed with a company for 5 months as well as another company for 6 months immediately before, i was terminated from my job (5 month one) because i was pregnant and they wouldnt work with my OBGYN appointments as well as my extreme morning sickness. My morning sickness was documented with my doctor and i had doctors notes for any time i had to go to an appointment. it has been 15 months since i lost that job and still feel like it shouldnt have happened that way. i am wondering if i would be eligible for unemployment because i was terminated because of my pregnancy. any advice with this situation would help. thank you.

  36. What happens to when you’re laid off one job and collect unemployment for a few weeks and then find another job and them get laid off from the second job. Do you qualify for unemployment again? Do you need to do anything more from the first time you were laid off?

  37. My employer sold our store, a new company bought it. I worked for the previous owner for 16 years. We were told it was business as usual and our pay would stay the same now 2 months later we are told we will be salary and have to work 50 hours a week. I was previously hourly and 40 hours it’s a pay cut. Can I collect if I don’t agree to this? Ii do have termination papers from the previous owner that say store was sold.

  38. I am going to be laid off on Jan 15, 2014 and just received my surplus notice from my company today. We will receive a severance package which equals about 2 1/2 months of pay and we are paid for vacation and excused with pay time remaining once we leave. I was told by a friend that I am not eligibl fore unemployement if I accept my severance pay. I am working until my last day on payroll which is Jan 15, 2014. I have worked for over 6years for this company and I am full time 40 hrs week at about 20.00 hr. I have a husband who cannot work but cannot collect unemployment or disablity at this time and we have two kids one with an Austim Spectrom disorder and take medication for Seizures therefore, being without my income is a great concern at this point since I have not found a job. I really need answers soon so I can be perpared for the worst if I do not find work before my last day.

    1. if severence payment is issued in March for period March to september can benefits be claimed starting in April or starting in Sept?

  39. I was pink slipped, due to being bumped out of my full time position. If I bump a 24 hour position, and get bumped again, will I qualify for unemployment? And would it be at part time hours, or full time hours?

  40. I was told last night that I was ‘technically we are laying you off, it is not performance related and we do not know how long it could last’. I have ‘one week’ left to work. My concern is, how do I PROVE I am being laid-off, as this is a small ‘watch out for ourselves’ business and I was only given a verbal explanation. I was part time for a year, 24 to 30 hours a week, will I be even remotely eligible for Unemployment??? Thanks so much, I’ve never had this happen.

  41. I worked a job for 6 months couldn’t get to work anymore after losing my car found a job that payed better and was more convenient worked there for 6 weeks and was then laid off. Would I still qualify for benefits?

  42. I quit my job due to the plant managers drug use and him being a safety concern then moved out of state to find work. Can I claim benifits even though I quit?

    1. You can apply. Describe your circumstances and if it is determined your quit was of a compelling nature, you will be able to proceed with your claim.

    2. What do you have to do to prove a hostile environment, discrimination and bullying at a work place, and if you quit under these circumstances can you draw unemployment while you are looking for another job.

  43. my employer wants to prepay me for any vacation time I have left for the year On December 20th. can I file a claim on the following monday or do I have too wait until the 30th to file.

    1. If that money is for vacation and regardless of when it is paid the vacation being paid for is from 12/20 – 12/30 and you have a job to return to – you can’t file for that period. If you do not have a job to go back to, it is a different story. Call your local office and give them more details.

  44. This morning I was told that I’m suspended from my job with out pay pending an investigation. Do I qualify got benifits? Thank you for your time.

    Shanna Rice-Niemczewski

    1. Anytime you lose a job or have reduced hours, you potentially qualify for unemployment. Being suspended pending an investigation says it may be determined to be your fault and it may not – until that is determined you cannot report to work even though you are able and willing. So you may qualify and be found eligible – they may pend the benefit payments until the investigation is over. They may release the payments and if you are found at fault, you would have to pay them back. If the company’s policy is to pay you if the investigation determines you were not at fault, you would again owe the unemployment office the benefits paid. Call the local office – listen carefully to their advice. As you can see, it can get complicated.

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