CHICAGO (WBBM) – More than 200,000 unemployed workers in Illinois and seven other states are losing their unemployment compensation checks this week.

That is because the federally extended program is ending. The program provides compensation for 20 weeks beyond the 79 weeks covered by state and federal programs, and goes into effect when a state’s unemployment rate is at least 10 percent higher than it was in at least one of the past three years. It ends when hiring improves.

Illinois’ unemployment rate was 8.8 percent in March, down from 9.1 percent in February. The Illinois jobless rate has fallen for seven consecutive months.

Watch & Listen LIVE