Illinois funeral homes being shortchanged - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Illinois funeral homes being shortchanged

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Funerals are hard enough, but when you can't afford it, it's even harder. Funerals are hard enough, but when you can't afford it, it's even harder.
Owner of Mitchell Funeral Home in Marion, Larry Hughes Owner of Mitchell Funeral Home in Marion, Larry Hughes
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MARION, IL (KFVS) -

Funerals are hard enough, but when you can't afford it, it's even harder.    

An Illinois program designed to help with the cost is falling victim to the state's budget problems.

"The state doesn't seem to be too interested about doing anything about it," says owner of Mitchell Funeral Home in Marion, Larry Hughes.

Just last month, the funeral home received six checks from the state, one year late.

And that's only a fraction of the nearly $25,000 dollars they're still owed.

"That's money we take out of our cash flow to provide the service," says Hughes.

He says this is one of the only business that will give credit for service without asking for any money up front.

That would be like walking out of a grocery store with a cart full of food without paying.

"A lot of people, well, they just don't have it," he says.

Hughes says with the average funeral service costing anywhere between seven and $10,000, they're not too happy about having to wait to get paid.

"30-60-70-120 days or longer, or never get paid."

Because the debt keeps increasing, Hughes and his staff have talked about ending the free service, for good.

"It's starting to get a little old not getting anything from what you are doing. And when you do get money from the state, it nowhere near covers everything."

Between 9,000 and 12,000 people use the funeral assistance each year.

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