Funeral homes feeling the pinch of late state payments

The State of Illinois continues to struggle with paying its bills.

Funeral homes are one in a host of industries waiting for state reimbursement for public assistance funerals.

Ann Haugh has been a funeral director for the past 23 years. She said waiting for state reimbursements from the State of Illinois for public assistance funerals is at an all time high. At Duker and Haugh, they're still waiting for state money for funerals conducted in September.

"Because it's been such an ongoing issue I think we've gotten use to the situation. And manage to survive with slow paying State of Illinois payments," Haugh said.

These are funerals where the loved one is on public aid and has no way of paying the bill. The State pays funeral homes about $1,100 for the funeral. Haugh said the basic funeral they provide is in the neighborhood of about $5,000. So they're only getting about 20 percent of what it costs them.

"And when we apply to the State of Illinois for reimbursement we are also obligated to not ask the family for any additional money to pay for any aspect of the services that we have provided," Haugh said.

Haugh also said the state reimburses the cemetery for their time and grave plot. Cemeteries get $552 for each public assistance funeral that is connected to their cemetery. Haugh said she just wishes the state would catch up and be on time with their payments.

Haugh said her funeral home averages between one to two public assistance funerals per month.