A Wellingborough woman says she was forced to overclaim more than £30,000 in benefits because her partner was refusing to pay the rent and she was worried about being made homeless.
Helen Thompson, aged 27, of Gannet Lane, Wellingborough, has been given an 18-week prison sentence, suspended for a year after she admitted six charges of failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions and East Northamptonshire Council her husband was living with her.
Northampton Magistrates’ Court heard Thompson was falsely claimed £30,432 of income support, job seekers allowance, employment support allowance and housing and council tax benefit from April 2011 to October 2014.
The court heard Thompson had stated she was a single mother but she was living with the father of her children who had registered his car insurance at the address.
Representing herself, Thompson, who is unemployed, said she had continued to claim the benefits as a single mother as her husband had refused to pay the rent and she was worried about being made homeless.
She said: “He kept leaving and coming back. We would split up for a week and then he would come back.
“I was worried if I told the social I would be made homeless.”
Thompson said her partner was now paying the rent.
Deputy district Judge Ruth Fudge, sentencing, said: “This is a case that clearly crosses the custody threshold. Benefits are there for people who need them.”
Thompson has now begun the process of paying the money back, with money being taken out of her current benefits.