Ms Kerry Codd 25, of Church Road, Bircotes, pleaded guilty at Lincoln Magistrates Court, to two counts of failing to notify of a change in circumstances, which affected her entitlement to housing and council tax benefit.
The prosecution was brought by West Lindsey District Council and the Department for Work and Pensions. The offence occurred when Ms Codd lived in Gainsborough.
Mr. David Payne, prosecuting said:
The overpayment of £23,717.19 took place between 7th June 2004 to 31st October 2007."The defendant failed to inform the affected bodies her partner had returned to live with her.
"He was in full time employment at the time, which was paid into a joint bank account."
It included the following:
- Income support - £10,020.87
- Housing benefit - £11,419.68
- Council tax benefit -£2,276.64
Defending, Mr. Lloyd Edwards, said she is paying back the overpayments. He said:
"She had a difficult time with her previous partner who left suddenly and reappeared on the scene.Mr. Edwards explained she is with a new partner now and has two young children. He added:
"She was not sure he would stay and she delayed reporting it and delayed it."
"This was out of character."District Judge, Richard Blake said:
"Many people are managing in the community on low income and not cheating on benefits.He gave her 12 weeks in prison for each offence, suspended for a year. And a 12 month supervision order to run concurrently.
"What you did was a cheat on the system.
"I accept it was to provide for your family and that you have done the best to make amends as you are paying it back."