No Budget Means State Is Unable To Provide Funerals For Financially Strapped Families

Jan 23, 2017

Since the Illinois temporary spending plan ended in December, even more services are disappearing. One of them is state aid to provide funerals for families that can’t afford them.

Credit "City Graveyard" by Flickr User David Joyce / (CC X 2.0)

Drew Edwards became a funeral director in Danville in the '90s. Back then, when a family didn’t have the money to pay for their loved one’s funeral, the state would provide help.


“You’d fill out an application, send it to the public aid office, and the state would give an allotment to pay funeral homes to help have a dignified either funeral or cremation for the family,” Edwards said.


It wasn’t much, but it covered the basic costs. Under the program, the state paid $1,100 for a funeral service, and another five hundred for burial.


“All it does is keep our head above water,” Edwards said.


Edwards now serves as president of the Illinois Funeral Directors Association. He says many funeral homes are waiting to make sure a family can pay before they take custody of a body from the morgue.


That means a heavier burden on local governments to keep those bodies stored. It also is likely to mean that more families who never get to say a proper goodbye to their deceased loved ones.