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Support pours in for homeless man stung by honesty

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By The Associated Press
Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, 8:09 p.m.

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 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.

Brady, who was homeless when he found the money on a sidewalk in April upon leaving a shelter, turned the cash over to police. He was allowed to keep it six months later 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 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 once his benefits were cut off.

Offers of support for Brady have been pouring in from readers, the newspaper said.

Bergen County's United Way has set up an account specifically for Brady through its Compassion Fund.

The chapter's head, Tom Toronto, said 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.

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