Unclaimed bodies pile up as payments wither

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By: Associated Press
February 28, 2018

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - The number of funeral homes willing to handle burial or cremation of the unclaimed dead is dwindling in some places as government reimbursements fail to keep up with expenses.

In West Virginia, there will be no money for directors who handle abandoned bodies starting in March, when the state fund runs dry because of drug overdose deaths.

The $1,110 reimbursement for funeral directors who bury the indigent and unclaimed in Massachusetts hasn't risen in 35 years. They say the total cost for their time, the casket, transportation of the corpse and a burial plot can be double that.

In Massachusetts, one go-to funeral director wants lawmakers to require local health boards to sign off on cremation, which is cheaper than burial, when relatives don't come forward within 30 days.



 
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