Detroit cemetary

How bad can it get? Detroit couldn’t buy more paper to issue death and birth certificates.

Death (certificates) took holiday in wake of bankruptcy filing

Detroit’s funeral directors received this unusual text message last month. “FYI, city of Detroit can’t process death certificates because they have no paper and don’t have money to buy any.”

The message, from a fellow funeral director, was mostly true: The city did stop issuing certified copies of birth and death certificates on July 23, days after the July 18 bankruptcy filing. That day, a nervous paper vendor demanded cash — and the city wanted to do business as usual, on credit.

The paper is special and unique to each jurisdiction so Detroit couldn’t borrow paper from other towns. In the special irony that comes with political fiascos, employees at the vital records department, having no paper to do their work, were paid to sit around doing nothing.

It isn’t a laughing matter for families who need those certificates to proceed with legal matters after a death.

Without certified copies of death certificates, families couldn’t access bank accounts, file insurance claims, or access probate court. The families are often struggling financially, grieving and frustrated by any bureaucratic delay. And although funeral homes provide copies as a service to families, they wind up taking the heat.

Eventually the vendor did supply the paper.

I don’t know who to feel more sorry for—the families who lost a loved one or the children who had the misfortune to be born in Detroit.

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5 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. Dave says:

    Hmmmm…….well.. you have to take into consideration that all the gang shootings there just rip thru reams of death certificate paper, ergo I could understand THEIR shortage. Don’t mean to be insensitive to those who have passed away.

    But what I want to know is……


    Wheres Rod Serling?

    • midget says:

      Do Do Do Do…Do Do Do Do…”You’re traveling to another dimension.A dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous? land whose boundaries are that of imagination.”Your next stop DAVE…
      The Twilight Zone…Do Do Do Do Do Do Do….

  2. tamcat says:

    Everything about Detroit is just pitiful.

  3. ConservativeSue says:

    It’s a crying shame that a city can’t properly record vital statistical information for future generations.

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