Homeless Man's Good Deed Gets Benefits Yanked

James Brady returned $850 he found on sidewalk

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 11, 2013 8:15 AM CST

(Newser) – In April, James Brady was taking his daily walk when he found $850 in cash in a bank envelope on the sidewalk. The New Jersey man, then homeless, turned the money in to police. No one claimed it, and last month police returned it to him ... and as a result, Brady was denied General Assistance and Medicaid benefits from Oct. 18 through the end of the year, the Record reports. The director of the Hackensack Human Services Department says she had no choice, because Brady didn't report the income.

Brady says he didn't know he needed to report it. "I had already proven my honesty by turning in the $850," he says. "I’m not trying to hide anything." After finding the money, Brady moved into an apartment in July, and a county housing voucher covered most of his rent. The $210 in monthly general assistance he received was his only way of paying for non-food items, and he needs the Medicaid coverage for his medications and therapy and psychiatrist appointments. Local lawmakers sympathize with Brady, and legal advocates may help him get the benefits restored. The United Way has also stepped in, and is accepting donations for Brady, CBS Local reports.

  (Shutterstock)
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I had to follow regulations. He only pays $5 [a month] in rent. ... I’m sorry that I had to re-determine his eligibility, ... but then I wouldn’t be doing my job if I made him eligible. - Agatha Toomey, director of
Hackensack Human Services

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