As if dealing with a death of a loved isn't hard enough one Illinois coroner is making it harder by holding the body of the deceased until their loved ones can pay for the release.


Is this legal? Can a coroner do this?

According to a report shared by AP NewsAdams County Coroner James Keller has been receiving a lot of backlash lately on how he handles families of limited finances and retireiving the body of their loved one.

Mr. Keller "has them sign over their rights to the deceased, leaving them without the death certificate, then cremates the body and keeps the ashes until the family pays $1,000."

Wow! That's a lot of money to ask for at one time, especially if you have a limited income.

Accoridng to Mr. Keller this policy began as a result of our state, Illinois "[announcing] it was too broke to pay for indigent funerals and burials — shifting the cost to funeral homes and county coroners. Of the $1,000 people pay, he says $800 goes to the funeral homes and $200 to the crematory."

I mean I understand the coroners wanting payment for the work they've done, but to ask for it all up front is a little steep. I mean can't a payment schedule be made?

According to Wendy Smith she asked "if he could work with her to make payments toward the $1,000 and he refused."

The problem is is a family signs over the body to the coroner they can't get the death certificate to to "to access bank accounts or life insurance" of their deceased.

Also, according to the AP article, "[the] funding is available again" However it appears that they may "[have] given up on the state. Though lawmakers appropriated $9.3 million this year — the same amount as the 2015 budget year — the number of claims has plummeted, from 5,652 in the 2015 budget year to 1,084 so far this fiscal year, which ends June 30."

Wow! What can be done to make this right. I mean I don't see why a payment plan can't be set up or something.

I understand funeral homes are tired of being stuck with the bill when our state couldn't pay or is slow in paying now, but to hurt poorer families isn't right either.

I really hope there will be some sort of remedy to this that it helpful and fair for all involved in a time of life that's already sad, confusing and hurtful.






More From Rockford's New Country Q98.5