State Won't Pay for Poor Peoples' Funerals

Budget cuts out indigent funerals

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2009  |  Updated 2:35 PM CDT
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State Won't Pay for Poor Peoples' Funerals

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Because of its budget woes, the state of Illinois will no longer pay for funerals for the indigent.

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For the poor, it's a final indignity, funeral directors say.

Because of its budget woes, the state of Illinois will no longer pay for funerals for the indigent.

In a letter to funeral homes last week announcing the cutback, the Department of Human Services blamed the General Assembly's failure to approve the revenue plan proposed by Gov. Pat Quinn.

Agency spokesman Tom Green says Illinois pays about $15 million a year for about 10,000 funerals for the poor.

Green said the state will pay for funerals that have taken place, but any funeral held after July 1 will be paid for with funds out appropriations approved for the budget year that begins July 1, 2010.

Funeral directors are predicting bodies will begin piling up at medical examiner's offices as a result of the state's action.

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