Tuesday, Jun 28, 2016
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Offers grow for man who lost benefits

Ex-homeless Samaritan turned over to police $850 he found

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James Brady had found a place to live and had started to receive treatment for depression. He did not report the cash he was allowed to keep as new income.

THE RECORD OF BERGEN COUNTY (N.J.) Enlarge

HACKENSACK, N.J. — Offers of support have been pouring in from around the nation for a formerly homeless New Jersey man whose good deed proved costly.

James Brady of Hackensack was notified recently that his government benefits were being suspended because he failed to report as income the $850 he had found on a sidewalk and turned over to police.

Mr. Brady was homeless when he found the money in April after leaving a local homeless shelter and turning over the cash. Six months later he was allowed to keep it because no one claimed it during a mandated waiting period.

But the Hackensack Human Services Department denied him General Assistance and Medicaid benefits through Dec. 31 because he failed to report the cash as new income. The director of human services said the agency was just following the rules.

Mr. Brady, 59, is a former photographer and market data analyst who has suffered from depression since he lost his job a decade ago, according to the Record of Woodland Park. He recently found housing and was taking medication from medical professionals. He said he was unsure he’d be able to continue care after his benefits were cut off.

The newspaper said offers of support for Mr. Brady have been pouring in. Bergen County’s United Way also has set up an account specifically for him through its Compassion Fund.

The chapter’s chief, Tom Toronto, told the newspaper the offers stem from a feeling that Mr. Brady did a good deed when it would have been easier not to. “Here’s a fellow who behaved admirably, who clearly could have used the money himself, but he showed a tremendous amount of pride and honesty,” Mr. Toronto said.

He said the United Way would work with Mr. Brady to develop a program tailored to his needs so the gifts would not affect future benefits.

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