He wasn’t always homeless, but he hit hard times and ended up that way. He’s getting government assistance (both housing and medical) to help him through this time.
Then he finds $850 on the street. Even though he really needed the money, he turned it over to police. No one claimed the money, so the police gave it back to him.
Unfortunately, he didn’t realize he needed to report that money (a commendation from the City Council) as income to the government. So what happens? He loses his benefits for 2 ½ months. No warning, no appeal.
But that’s the rules. If you have a lump sum payment, you have to report it. He was in the newspapers, not just locally, but across the nation, for his good deed. He couldn’t have hid the receipt of the money if he’d wanted to. But if you’re looking to judge a man by his character, wouldn’t the fact that he turned in the $850 in the first place be an indication that he was trying to do the right thing? He could have just kept the money when he found it. No one would have been the wiser. But he didn’t.
By the letter of the law, he disqualified himself. Were there extenuating circumstances? I haven’t seen the form he fills out, but if it said “income” or “lump sum payment” would it be reasonable to expect that he didn’t consider the “commendation” to be income or a payment? What do you think?
And if you feel inclined to offer help to this man, here’s a Unite Way link for that too.
Photo Credit Flickr Spike55151
via The Real Side With Joe Messina 11/11/13