A 51-year-old Chapel St Leonards woman who claimed benefits of more than £7,000 she was not entitled to, had ‘serious financial issues’ and had ‘painted herself into a corner’, according to her solicitor.
Julie Jackson, of Trunch Lane, admitted three offences of dishonestly making a false statement to obtain benefit and two of failing to notify a change of circumstances, when she appeared at Boston Magistrates Court.
Marie Stace, prosecuting, said Jackson had claimed various benefits since 2014 when she became unable to work and was on statutory sick pay, saying she had no other income.
It was then discovered that she had failed to declare that her husband had been receiving an occupational pension since 2006, and she later failed to declare her own income from part time work.
Ms Stace said Jackson had been overpaid £7,200 as a result.
Barbara Newman, for the Probation Service, said Jackson had financial problems and had ‘buried her head in the sand’
She said she had been to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and had started a debt management plan.
Mitigating for Jackson, Elizabeth Harte said the offences stemmed from two major things in her life – serious financial issues which had been exacerbated in 2014 when she became unfit to work because of serious health issues from which she was lucky to survive.
“Her moral compass became seriously out of alignment,” said Ms Harte, “and she did not declare her husband’s occupational pension.
“She painted herself into a corner and the longer it went on, the harder it was to retrieve the situation, but she accepts full responsibility and is full of remorse.”
The magistrates imposed a 12 month community order and ordered Jackson to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work for the community.
She was also ordered to pay £170 in costs and charges.