Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

June 6, 2014

State indigent burial program exhausts funds

BLUEFIELD —  A state program that pays for funerals for indigent families is now out of money.

The state’s indigent burial program has exhausted its funds until the new fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

The $2.28 million allotted for the program was cut by $50,000 due to state budget cuts, Sen. Bill Cole, R-Mercer, said.

“This is the second year the money has run out in this program and I believe it’s mainly due to pressure on the budget and a higher level of people applying for the care the program provides,” Cole said.

The department plans on re-opening the program on July 1 when the new fiscal year begins. But until then, area lawmakers say they are not for sure how the state will help low-income families pay for burials.

The program provides funeral services for those who do not have any other resources to pay for a funeral, Delegate Marty Gearheart, R-Mercer, said.

Gearheart said he was not sure how indigent families would pay for a funeral due to the program being shut down.

— Contact Anne Elgin at aelgin@bdtonline.com

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