A woman illegally claimed thousands of pounds in benefits after failing to tell the authorities she had received an inheritance, Lincoln Crown Court was told.
Marsha Addison, 55, of Lacey Gardens in Louth, had been claiming housing benefit from East Lindsey District Council.
Mark Watson, prosecuting, said that Addison should have informed both the DWP and the district council when she received an inheritance of £38,800 which she deposited in her bank account back in June 2013. The amount of money meant that Addison did not qualify for the benefits she was receiving.
During this period, Addison was looking after her long-term partner Philip Grundy, and she “dishonestly caused [him] to fail to give prompt notice of a change of circumstance which would affect his entitlement to [Employment Support Allowance]” during this period.
Mr Watson said “At the time an investigation was carried out she still had £25,000 in the account. She explained that the large deposit was as a result of an inheritance.”
He told the court that, during a five year period, Addison received £24,362 that she was not entitled to, in addition to a further £17,858 in housing benefit.
Addison admitted two charges of failing to promptly notify the authorities of a change of circumstances regarding her benefits.
She was given a 26 week jail sentence suspended for a year.
Annette Thomas, in mitigation, said that Addison, who was of previous good character, had not been happy to receive the money.
She gave some of the cash to her children and was planning to give the rest to her grandchildren.
The court was told that Addison has repaid a lump sum from the remaining amount in her bank account and has been making further monthly payments to ELDC to clear the housing benefit debt.
Miss Thomas said: “Both she and Philip Grundy have significant ill-health. They have been together for 39 years but never married.”
Recorder Paul Mann QC, passing sentence, told Addison: “Over a period of five years you received benefits exceeding £42,000 that you were not entitled to.
“It is people like you bleeding the system that make it so difficult to provide the support where it is really needed. You didn’t need this money.”