The Los Angeles County coroner’s office reports that more bodies of deceased residents are going unclaimed than in the past, then cremated at taxpayer expense. Why the increase? Families claim that they simply can’t afford funeral expenses.
“It’s a pretty dramatic increase,” said Lt. David Smith, a coroner’s investigator. “The families just tell us flat-out they don’t have the money to do a funeral.”
Once the county cremates an unclaimed body — typically about a month after death — next of kin can pay the coroner $352 to receive the ashes. The fee for claiming ashes from the morgue is $466.
Families unable to pay their own bills can’t afford to claim their relatives’ remains, then pay up to $1,000 for a private cremation.
More bodies go unclaimed as families can’t afford funeral costs [Los Angeles Times]