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Max. Weekly Benefit Amount
$350
Max. Weeks of Benefits
13
Current Jobless Rate
3.9%
Max Weekly Benefit Amount
$350
Max Weeks of benefits
13
Current Jobless rate
3.9%

Updated : February 21st, 2022

North Carolina Unemployment Benefits

North Carolina offers Unemployment Insurance (UI) to citizens who have lost their jobs. They can apply for unemployment benefits if they are ‘laid off’ from work or unemployed with no fault of their own. On this page, you will find all the information you need to successfully apply for benefits, such as eligibility criteria, methods to apply, required documentation, and more.

Eligibility To Apply For UI Benefits In North Carolina

To filter genuine UI claimants, North Carolina’s unemployment insurance agency has set certain criteria that you need to meet to claim weekly Unemployment Benefits.

Monetary Eligibility

One of the parameters set by North Carolina for eligibility is that you must fulfill the requirement of earning the minimum stipulated wages in the base period.



A base period is a time frame during which an applicant is expected to have earned the required amount of wages to gain eligibility for unemployment benefits. In North Carolina, it generally includes the first four of the last five completed quarters.

Note: A calendar quarter is a set of three-month time periods used to categorize a base year.

To gain monetary eligibility, you need to meet the following criteria set by the state of North Carolina:

  • You must have received wages in at least two quarters of your base period.
  • You must have received wages totaling at least six times the average weekly wages during your base period.
  • If you do not have enough wages, your wage criterion is determined by calculating your wages in the last four completed calendar quarters immediately before the first day of your benefit period. You should note that the alternative benefit period may not be used to make a claim after your first benefit year.
  • You must have at least $780 in the last two quarters to establish the minimum weekly benefit amount of $15. North Carolina has set a maximum limit for WBA at $350
  • In North Carolina, the weekly benefit amount is calculated by adding wages in the last two base period quarters, dividing it by 52, and rounding it to the next lower whole Dollar.

You will receive a Wage Transcript and Monetary Determination. This letter will contain all the necessary information about you, including all the employers you’ve worked for and the wages you’ve received.

The Wage Transcript and Monetary Determination letter will also contain information on your estimated weekly benefit, maximum benefit amount, and the number of weeks you will receive benefits. You are expected to read this letter and verify if your wages are correct.

Find out more about eligibility requirements

Job Separation

After establishing monetary eligibility, the next step to qualify for benefits is to establish the reason for separation from your previous organization.

You should note that the North Carolina Unemployment Insurance program is not applicable for anyone unemployed. The State law mandates that the benefits should only be given to those who lost their jobs due to no fault of theirs.

The reason for your job separation also comes into play when determining your eligibility. Please check and assess if the following apply to you or not:

  • You must not have lost your job due to any fault of yours.
  • You must not have quit the job of your own volition.
  • You were not involved in any unethical or illegal activities, resulting in your exit from the previous organization.
  • You were laid off from work, or your working hours were shortened due to lack of work.

North Carolina’s Department of Commerce’s Division of Employment Security will verify your claims about job separation. The department may contact your ex-employers to corroborate your claim with your ex-employer. If it is found that your claim does not match with that of your previous employer, your eligibility for benefits will be withheld.

Eligibility requirements – overview

Maintaining Eligibility

Once you establish that you are monetarily eligible and that you lost your job due to no fault of yours, you will gain qualification for monetary benefits. You must, however, remember that you should maintain the eligibility factors throughout all the weeks you would receive benefits.

To make sure that you receive your weekly benefits every week without any hurdles, make sure to adhere to the following points:

  • You must be able and available to work at all times in the weeks you receive monetary benefits.
  • You must possess the mental and physical capacity to work.
  • Report any wages you earn during the benefits weeks without fail.
  • Report to the department immediately if you receive employment during the benefits weeks.
  • You must register with the North Carolina Division of Workforce Solutions for work at NCWorks online.
  • You must actively pursue work throughout the benefits weeks. You must make at least three contacts with potential employers in a week.
  • You must follow the rules and prevent yourself from committing fraud by providing false or misleading information or by withholding important information.

Find out on job search requirements

How To Apply For UI Benefits In NC?

To apply for unemployment benefits in North Carolina, you will need the following documents:

  • Your Social Security Number.
  • Details from your most recent employer about separation, vacation, or severance pay you received, will receive, or are entitled to receive.
  • Details regarding any retirement pay (gross monthly amount of pay along with proof).
  • Your bank routing number and account number if you would like unemployment payments directly deposited into your bank account. If you do not select direct deposit, payment will be placed on a DES-issued debit card.
  • Your work history for the past two years (employer name as it appears on your check stub, employer’s payroll and physical addresses, telephone number, employment dates, rate of pay, and reason for separation from each employer).

You can file for unemployment benefits in North Carolina through the following methods:

Online

The most convenient way to file a claim is by doing so through the North Carolina’s Division of Employment Security website – https://des.nc.gov/. You will have to create a login ID and password to create your new online account. If you do not have access to computers, you can use the computers at your local NCWorks Career Center.

Telephone

In the event you do not have access to computers, you may also file claims through a phone call. Dial 888-737-0259 to register your claims over a telephone call.

How To File Weekly Claims

You can file your weekly claims through the DES website. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can also certify your weekly claims by calling the customer care number – 1-888-737-0259.

Note – If you have any questions regarding your responsibilities or the schemes introduced by the department, contact DES by calling 1-888-737-0259.

Learn how to claim weekly benefits

UI Benefits Amount

Benefits Calculator

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Disclaimer: The estimates are good in faith and accuracy is not guaranteed. We are not liable for any loss and damages caused by using the tools on our website. This calculator is here to assist you in evaluating what you might obtain if you are entitled to receive benefits. We make no promises that the sum you receive will be equal to what the calculator illustrates.

Know more about the Benefits Calculator

Things To Know After Filing An Application

You are expected to follow certain guidelines after filing for unemployment benefits in North Carolina. Not following these guidelines may create problems for claimants and may result in a stoppage of monetary benefits as well.

Overpayments And Collections

An overpayment occurs when you receive benefits to which you are not entitled, either inadvertently or through willful misdirection. Examples of overpayment include undisclosed earnings, fake documents submission, not reporting your new job or your new source of income, etc.

North Carolina overpayments fall into two types – Fraudulent and Non-Fraudulent.
A fraudulent overpayment occurs when you knowingly provide false or misleading information to get benefits or to extend the benefits weeks. The Division of Economic Security takes cases of fraud very seriously. Any fraudulent cases that exceed $400 can be prosecuted as a felony in the state of North Carolina.

A non-fraudulent overpayment occurs when you receive an overpayment, but it was determined that there was no objective to mislead or falsify data to your advantage. Non-Fraudulent overpayments occur due to administrative miscalculations arising due to unintentional errors committed by you, the employer, or by the DES.

What can you do if you receive overpayments in North Carolina?

You need to repay all overpayments to the Division of Employment Security. If you’re receiving UI benefits and have an overpayment balance, your benefits will be cut by 50% for non-fraud overpayments and by 100% for fraud overpayments.

The DES may collect overpaid amounts by:

  • Pursuing criminal prosecution and/or civil court action.
  • Garnishing your state tax refund
  • Garnishing your federal tax refund.
  • Garnishing your lottery winnings.

To avoid garnishments, you should repay the overpaid amount in full. If you can’t afford to do so, you can reach out to DES and arrange a payment agreement.

You can make payments by:

  • Check
  • Debit Card
  • Credit Card or
  • Money Order

You can make credit and debit card payments online. Payments by check or money order must be made payable to N.C. Division of Employment Security. Remember to include your name and claimant identification number while posting.

Mail the checks or money orders to:

N.C. Division of Employment Security
Benefits Payment Control Unit
Post Office Box 25903
Raleigh, NC 27611-5903

Further Reading: How to Settle the Overpayment of Benefits

Benefits Extension

The state offers a benefits extension when the unemployment rate is too high, or there is an economic downturn. Contact DES to know more about the benefits extension in the state.

Job Training Assistance

The workforce system of North Carolina, NCWorks, provides ample training and education opportunities to job seekers. The platform provides a whole list of career services to help job seekers prepare better for the changing dynamics of the job market.

NCWorks offers the following services to job-seekers free of charge:

  • Offers career assessment and guidance to those who are seeking to find job opportunities
  • Assesses aspirants to guide them on relevant training and education programs
  • Provides information to job aspirants on job fairs and workshops
  • Provides access to computers with internet access in the NCWorks Center for registered job aspirants

You can avail of the following services online on the website of NCWorks:

  • Exploring job opportunities
  • Resume Builder
  • Job market trends
  • Letter Builder
  • Virtual Recruiter (This feature helps in scheduling a recurring search for job openings that matches your qualification)

The NCWorks also helps job aspirants find workplace training as the requirements of the job aspirants. The center also offers ollowing options to help you acquire some job experience:

  • Internship
  • On-the-job training
  • Apprenticeship

Know more job training opportunities in NC



Locations and Phone Numbers

You can pay a visit to your closest DES office to get more information on unemployment insurance and any services related to it. The local DES offices will provide updated information on all of your queries. Locate the closest local DES office to your location
Alternatively, you may also contact the DES over the telephone to find answers to all of your queries. The following table contains the requisite numbers you will need during the course of your benefit period in North Carolina:

NC Unemployment Office Phone Numbers

File Claim via Telephone 888-372-3453/1-877-841-9617
Customer Call Center area 888-737-0259
DES Recovery Specialist 919-707-1338
Public Appeals 919-707-1060
Government & Public Relations 919-707-1010

Note - Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Frequently Asked Question

Q. Do I need to repay if my claim is reversed on appeal?
When a claimant receiving benefits has his/her claim reversed on appeal, the benefits received will be an overpayment subject to repayment to the Division. The Law requires all persons who have received benefits to which they are not entitled “for any reason” to be liable to repay the benefits received, including when decisions at any Division or judicial level have been reversed on appeal.
Q. What happens if I forget to file my weekly certification for benefits?
If you fail to complete a timely weekly certification, you will not be allowed to receive payment for the week, you will not be required to reopen your claim, and finally, you will not be required to serve a waiting period week (non-payable week).
Q. I received separation pay (or pay, wages in lieu of notice, vacation pay, etc). When should I file a claim?
Generally, you should file your claim the first week after the period covered by the payment (if the last week of the payment is not a full week’s pay, you may file that same week, although you possibly will still be ineligible due to excessive earnings).
You are not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits for any full week covered by separation pay, vacation pay, etc. (nor may such a week count as your “waiting period week”).
Q.What should I do if my unemployment payment is late?
View Your Benefit Payment History online or call the DES JOBS Line. Use the DES Office Locator to find the JOBS Line phone number for your location. You should wait for 48 hours if you file your continued claims by telephone or 5 days if your employer files your claim(s) for you or you file by mail before checking the status of your claim.
Q.What are my work search requirements in North Carolina?
The state of North Carolina mandates that you must be able to work, be available for work, and actively pursue job opportunities.

To receive benefits:

  • Under state law, you need to make contact with at least three different employers every week and record your work search. You can satisfy one of the three job contacts requirement by attending an approved reemployment activity offered by a NCWorks Career Center or a partnering agency.
  • You need to register with a jobseeker account on NCWorks.gov. You can use NCWorks.gov to search and apply for jobs, access labor market information and find opportunities for workforce training.
Q. Am I required to register for work in the state of North Carolina?
Yes, you need to register for work to be eligible for your weekly unemployment benefits in North Carolina.
You can register by -
  • Visiting www.NCWorks.gov and create an account. Click on the link that says 'Not Registered?' and then select 'Individual' under Option 3 - ‘Create a User Account.’ The website will then guide you through the steps to complete your account setup.
  • Maintain an active account. If you have not logged in for more than 90 days into NCWorks.gov, you must log in and verify your information to reactivate your registration.
Q.When should I file a claim for UI benefits?
You should file a claim for benefits if you lost your job due to no fault of your own, you are willing to register for work and actively seek employment, and you are able and available to work if any work is offered to you.
NOTE: If you are still employed but are temporarily laid off due to a decrease in workload, your employer may file an attached claim on your behalf. Attached claims do not require that you register for work or actively seek work. If your employer refuses to file an attached claim on your behalf, you must file your own claim and meet all eligibility requirements.
Q. What day of the week does North Carolina’s UI benefits get deposited?
You need to start filing for weekly certifications the week after submitting your first application. After which, you must file a weekly certification within 14 days every week of unemployment to continue being eligible for unemployment benefits. It is also suggested that you file for certifications even if you are waiting to see if you’re eligible.
You need to wait for up to 48 hours for payments to fully process.

Questions & Answers

  1. I’ve filed for three weeks and it says that the payment is dependent on “pending resolution” What does that mean? I was a school teacher in NC and my spouse was offered a job in another state so we moved.

    I’ve tried emailing my question and they do not seem to be taking calls at the moment.

    1. Brian,

      If you quit employment voluntarily to move with your spouse, you may not qualify to receive Unemployment Compensation.

  2. My mother is widowed and dedicated her time to my father during his 17 yr battle with cancer. Since his passing the small amount of life insurance has almost vanished. I support her with over $1000 a month. She is not sure how to claim or if she is able to collect. She works a small home business that doesn’t generate more then $1,000 a month. What can we do so she doesn’t lose her home and is able to keep the lights on?

    1. Cameron,

      Please ask your mother to contact the Unemployment Office to explore the options available for her.

  3. Worked for employer since 1/20/2017. Worked full time for 6 months with verbal agreement they would do 12 hour shifts when I started school. They honored agreement for two weeks. Since that time, they have schedule of 40 hours every two weeks and take medical benefits even though I’m not full time. Am I eligible for UC?

    1. Elizabeth,

      Contract workers are not eligible since employers’ don’t remit Unemployment taxes into the system. Please check with your employer if they do.

  4. I am paymaster at a business in North Carolina. Are we require to comply with an order to withhold child report based on an order from another state, specifically NY?. The employee is a NC resident.

  5. Hello,

    I work for a company in Charlotte as an IT contractor since January 2017. I work for Randstad a temp agency. The company I work for is laying me off on Dec 31st 2017. Will I be able to apply for unemployment? I have been looking for work for a few months now with no luck.

    1. Mike,

      Please check with your employer if they remitted relevant taxes into the system. If “Yes”, you will be eligible to claim UI benefits.

  6. I am part owner of a small business that is struggling. We haven’t gotten pay checks for the past two weeks. Can I lay myself off and collect unemployment?

    1. Kevin,

      Did you pay the relevant taxes into the system? If Yes, please call the Claims Center to ascertain eligibility.

  7. I relocated from NY to NC for a Job and I started Jan 23 2017 and was terminated on June 28th 2017 a few weeks under the 6 mth mark can I still apply for unemployment benefits ?

  8. My wife had to quit her job several years ago to care for me as I am a %140 disabled war veteran. We have lived in NC for over a year now. We’re at a point of needing help getting her back in the workforce. Is she qualified for unemployment benefits?

    1. To be eligible for UI benefits, a claimant is required to have employment in the last 4-5 calendar quarters (base period).

    1. I am not sure of the state-specific benefits.

      Please call the Claims Center and speak to a representative for more information.

  9. I did a claim for temporary unemployment due to slow work due to weather and was told I had to do 5 apps a week I am still a full time employed why do I have to do this

    1. Well, the rules are more or less standard for all the claimants.

      If you disagree, please call the Unemployment Office.

  10. I have worked for SP Plus for 20 months, the 3rd of November I had to have Hip Replacement surgery and was out of work for 4 weeks, can I collect unemployment for that time, I am now back at work .

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

  11. Can I apply for partial unemployment if my job is cutting back my hours? I am 8 months pregnant and 15 hours a week is not enough. I have been with this company for 5 years.

    1. Generally, you will be able to apply for partial UI benefits for the reduction in the full-time hours.

      I suggest that you call the Unemployment Office and apply accordingly.

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

  12. If I am a 10 month school employee for Cumberland County Schools can I apply for unemployment for the two months that I am unemployed?

    1. Seasonal employment such as working in a school does not qualify.

      Please inquire further with the Unemployment Office in your state.

  13. I was recruited and accepted a job here in NC and moved here from another state in November 2015. After 5 months, I was told I was not capable of doing the job they hired me for (although I was not ever given a job description nor have received one since) and they lowered my salary 20%. Can I quit and collect unemployment?

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

  14. If I hire a North Carolina resident to work in New York for a 12 week assignment, do I need to register with North Carolina for unemployment which she may be eligible for after the 12 week project is completed or would she file a claim through the state of New York?

    1. If you’re doing a temp job, you will not be eligible for UI benefits.

      Please inquire with the Unemployment Office in New York.

  15. I have been gainfully employer in New Jersey for the last 20 years. I have always worked out of my home as an outside sales manager. In the beginning of March I moved to North Carolina. I am hearing rumors that my company may be having layoffs because of a merger. If the layoff occurs, do I file for benefits in NJ or NC? All the UI payments, except for the past three weeks have been made to NJ.

  16. Hello – My name is Shannon Black and I work for WECTEC Staffing. I would like to know who I can speak with regarding working with your facility to attract qualified unemployed individuals to work for our Company in the Nuclear Power industry. We understand that there will be layoffs in the area in our industry and we would like to capture that market and possibly get them back to work. I can be reached at 412-374-2310 or by email at [email protected]
    Thank you for your time,
    Shannon Black

    1. Hello Shannon,

      Please note this is not a government website. You can visit the nearest office of the Labor Department or find more information on the official website for contacts.

  17. I got a notice from the North Carolina Department of Revenue, stating that owned state tax on my unemployment payments in 2009 and 2010, when I filed for my unemployment I remember checking the box to have taxes taken out, how do I get this situation cleared up?? Please Help..

  18. I worked for an convenient store and was robbed gunpoint twice. I was beginning to think that this was not a safe place to work and it was taking it’s toll on my body physically and mentally depression. So I quit. I was wondering if I can draw unemployment benefits.
    Thanks, Richie

    1. Yes, you can qualify for UI benefits for hostile and threatening work environment until you find a new one.

      Please keep supporting documents handy in case if your employer disputes.

  19. I left a job in MD to take a contract position in NC. I started by NC job in July and just received notice of layoff. I have been here 6 months. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

  20. I’m misclassified as a subcontractor when I’m treated as an employee . I got terminated for no reason. Can I apply for unemployment?

  21. I was laid off my job of 34 years but i was able to sign for unemployment but I when to work at a another job but that late about for months I was fire can I go and file from my job of 34 year.

    1. They consider your employment of the last 4 calendar quarters.

      If your previous job falls under this category, you can claim. Please apply if you lost the job due to involuntary reasons.

  22. I have been self employed for the last 19 years, the contractor I was contracted with has eliinated all postions. Do I qualify for unemployment?

    1. Yes, you can claim from the state where you last worked.

      One can make UI claims for being unemployed due to involuntary reasons.

  23. Hey! I was laid off from a full time position this month. This was a only source of employment and I worked 40 hours per week no overtime and I am planning on applying for Unemployment benefits. If my previous employers deny that I was laid off and present some sort of other issue not voiced to myself during termination, Could the state deny my benefits? I suspect that my previous employer is willing to lie to avoid paying unemployment taxes. How deep would an investigation get? Will a thorough investigation be conducted on my behalf? For example i do accounting i believe they will state that I made an error or multiple errors that caused a client to take their business elsewhere. PLease help Thank You

    1. Please note if there is an unfair denial when you apply owing to factors promulgated by your former employer, you can always look forward to filing an appeal through an adjudicator who will investigate further.

      Details of this process will be available on the website of the labor dept in your state.

      1. Knowing the kind of bosses they are I will most likely have to appeal. I was a deserving employee that was treated unfairly and verbally abused on the daily basis. I am determined to appeal over and over again until they give up. Thank you so much Martin. (I apologize for the venting)

  24. Greetings,

    We are an employer in Wilmington, NC and would like information for a contact person with the department. We have posted jobs on Indeed but would like a chance to speak with someone directly.

    Thank you,
    Vicki
    HR Generalist

  25. I got laid off from my full time job getting 40 plus hours a week but I have a part time job just making 13-15 hours a week do I still qualify…..

    1. and if my weekly amount is 159 a week then when I file my claim and I report hours I work and make more than my weekly amount do I still qualify

      1. Look at the handbook or your financial determination. You will find information about a partial benefit. So you may find you still will receive some money.

  26. Hi, I started colecting on march ’13 and would like to go to Peru to visit my family for 1 month on Dec-Jan’14. If I havent found a job by them, can I still apply for jobs online and claim those 4 weeks from Lima? thanks

    1. I think it is possible you will be out of benefits at that time. As far as applying from outside your labor market for jobs in your labor market, I would recommend you call the local office – part of being eligible is to be able and available to work. People are allowed (in some states) to leave their local labor market and apply for jobs in another state. So what are the expectations in terms of your ability to respond (time frame, means of communication, etc)?

  27. My husband has applied for unemployment benefits and hasn’t heard anything about it!! He is an older person 55 years old and its not easy finding a job at his age but he wants to work to help his family out!! We are kind of in a desperate situation here!! Would appreciate hearing from you! His name is Kenneth Hudson

    1. This is not the unemployment office – it is a public website – please do not post personal information, everyone sees it. When did he apply? Have you checked the website to see if there is any information about the status of your claim? Please call the local office as soon as possible to find out what the hold up is.

  28. If I was working full time since last September. Now my employer only works me 1 day every 2 weeks of pay period can I apply for unemployment for the other 9 days

  29. i worked part for lowes. my question is am i allowed to draw unemployment benefits for the time that i worked? thank you.

  30. If I live in South Carolina but work in North Carolina which state do I request unemployment benefits from?

  31. If I live in North Carolina, but worked in Texas while in the military, can I make my claim against Texas instead of North Carolina?

    1. Hi Joe,

      Since your last job was in Texas, you might have to file for unemployment there.
      Part time earnings need to be mentioned while you file your claim and during weekly claims. You can file for UI after loosing job and not waiting for anything.

  32. If I worked part of a week and earned very little, can I initiate my claim that same week, or do I have to wait until the following week?

  33. My boss told me that he could no longer afford to pay me what I am being paid so I voluntarily cut my hours to 3 days a week and half of my former salary. Can I file for unemployment benefits for the 2 days that I don’t work ?

  34. I worked for a large Company in Florida, moved last year to NC still worked from Home for same Company, got sick
    And last week my employer advised me that I will be placed on 24 Month unpaid Medical leave and if I am better I can apply for my Position again. I am 62 and applied for early SSI …..which is not enough to pay my Bills, my Question is …..
    Can I apply for Unemployment in NC?

    1. If you are able and available to work you can receive unemployment benefits. Alternatively, you can check if you are eligible for temporary disability benefits.

  35. MY CURRENT JOB IS BEING TERMINATED. THE COMPANY IS OFFERING ME AN APPLICATION TO APPLY FOR A DIFFERENT JOB THAT PAYS LESS; WIYH NO BENEFITS; AND OBLIGATES ME TO BE AVAILABLE FOR WORK 24 HOURS A DAY. MY CURRENT JOB PAYS MORE; PROVIDES BENEFITS; AND ONLY OBLIGATES ME TO BE AVAILABLE FOR WORK UP TO 7PM. I HAVE A DISABLED HUSBAND AND AM CURRENTLY ATTENDING COLLEGE. I CANT WORK CERTAIN HOURS OF THE DAY. WOULD I BE ELLIGIBLE FOR BENEFITS IF I DONT APPLY FOR THE JOB THAT PAYS LESS, OFFERS NO BENEFITS,& REQIRES ME TO WORK ALL HOURS. THANK YOU!

  36. I am retiring from the military after 20 years of service and relocating to NC. I do have a residence there and am moving there. Do I have to get a NC drivers license first to start my claim? Thanks.

  37. Will you get your weekly benefit past the June 30th date if you are able to file after that date???

  38. What is the waiting period for unemployment due to a temporary layoff?

    My employer told us that due to the economic conditions that BSH (Bosch Siemens Home Appliances) was behind on their unemployment taxes and if we had temporary layoffs that we would not be able to draw unemployment benefits, is this true?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Michelle,

      Generally, about a year of work (base period) is used to calculate the amount you are entitled to receive as benefits. Anything shorter than a year might have special criteria where you can receive benefits for a shorter period of time or a lesser amount or you might not be entitled all together.

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