The state's about a year behind what it owes funeral homes. A funeral director in Central Illinois says it's a problem that's been going on for decades and is only getting worse.
"Everyone deserves a life celebration, some type of funeral."
But, not everyone can afford one. That's why the state has a program to reimburse funeral homes a portion of its costs if it buries someone in need. But, Illinois is running about a year behind on payments.
"It's a very big dilemma."
Paula Staab-Polk is the director at Staab-Polk Memorial in Chatham. She says the delay is costing her big bucks.
"Sometimes they have been up to $10,000 in arrears."
And, she says paying for services in needier, rural areas is even worse. Staab-Polk says she only does a few charity burials a year, but the missing money all adds up.
"That certainly puts a stress on the business."
And a stress on her.
"If people could afford it, they would pay their way, but there are people who just do not have the resources in order to pay for a funeral."
Even though they can't afford it, Staab-Polk says they deserve some peace of mind.
"It's a difficult situation because you truly believe that these people should be recognized for the life they lived, but then you try to keep your business afloat too."
Staab-Polk says she and others have been working with lawmakers to try to come up with a solution like possibly including funeral costs in a health insurance plan.