A mum-of-three was given a community sentence after claiming £28,000 in benefits she was not entitled to.
Kelly Lloyd, 34, received the income support after failing to tell Lancaster City Council that her partner had moved in with her.
Lloyd, of Merefell Road, Bolton-le-Sands, was sentenced to a 12-month community order when she appeared at Lancaster Crown Court last Thursday.
Lloyd, who has three daughters aged 13, nine and five, is also expected to have to pay back the full overpayment.
She had earlier pleaded guilty to failing to alert the authorities of a change in circumstances which would have affected her income support claim.
Prosecuting, James Hawks said the offences had occurred between January 2009 and September 2012.
Lloyd’s partner Lee Brennan, the father of her three children, had moved into the family home but Lloyd continued to claim income support.
Surveillance was carried out on the family home by a fraud team and Mr Brennan was seen coming and going from the property and his van was regularly parked outside. His employers and bank confirmed he had given the family address as his own, and his car was registered to the property.
The children’s school also confirmed Mr Brennan was in their records as living in Merefell Road.
Lloyd had been entitled to continue to claim housing benefit and council tax benefit.
She also would have been entitled to claim child tax credits which she had not applied for.
As a result, the loss to the public purse was around £11,000.
Defending, Jon Close said Lloyd was “vulnerable and someone who struggles with the basics of day-to-day life”.
She had been diagnosed with panic attacks and anxiety, and often had problems leaving the house.
“Her three children occupy her entire life,” Mr Close said.
“How she fell into this path is perhaps understandable given the volatile relationship with the children’s father.
“He is the father of all three children but has not been a constant feature in their life.
“But clearly she should and could have kept the benefits agency informed. The use of the money was not for frivolous or luxury items; it was day-to-day living and even that money struggled to cover that.”
Lloyd had incurred increasing credit card debt and taken out loans to support the family, Mr Close said. All she has wanted to be is a stable influence in her children’s lives,” he said.
“These proceedings have been a salutory lesson. She is extremely remorseful. She is someone who is highly unlikely to trouble the courts again.
“All she wanted to do is look after her children.”
Judge Tony Lancaster told Lloyd: “I accept that all you have wanted to do is be a good mother to your children.
“You haven’t frittered away the money but have simply tried to hold your family together. I accept that there have been times when life has been difficult for you and you need great support.
“I think a prison sentence would be unjust.”