In what is likely a sign of the Great Recession, taxpayers are having to spend more money on burying the broke.
In Spartanburg County, for example, the number of indigent burials and cremations doubled between 2010 and 2012. In 2010, the county cremated 14 paupers, and by 2012, there were 28 indigent cremations.
So far in 2013, the county has paid for 20 pauper cremations, according to data provided by county administrator Katherine Hubbard.
Hubbard said each cremation cost $400 which includes a $145 fee for the transportation and filing of the death certificate and $265 dollars for the actual cremation.
The Spartanburg County Department of Indigent Care Services is asking county council for an additional $3,400 for next fiscal year because of a “higher number of pauper/indigent burials over the past few years,” according to a budget request document.
The county also has to pay an extra $19,800 to the Medically Indigent Assistance Program, a state service run through the S.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services. DHHS raised the cost based largely on income levels in Spartanburg County.