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 after he failed to report as income the $850 he had found on a sidewalk and turned over to police.
Brady, who was homeless when he found the money on a sidewalk in April after leaving a local homeless shelter, turned the cash over to police. He was allowed to keep it six months later after 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.
The 59 year-old Brady is a former photographer and market data analyst who has suffered from depression since losing his job a decade ago, according to The Record of Woodland Park.
Brady told The Record that he hadn't realized he was required to report the money. Formerly homeless, he had recently found housing and was seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist and taking medication, but was unsure he'd be able to afford continuing care after his benefits were cut off.
The newspaper says offers of support for Brady have been pouring in from readers.
Bergen County's United Way has also set up an account specifically for Brady through its Compassion Fund.
The chapter's head, Tom Toronto, told the newspaper that the offers of help stem from a feeling that 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," Toronto said.
Mindful that cash assistance could affect Brady's benefits going forward, Toronto said The United Way planned to work with Brady to develop a program of goods and services tailored to his needs.