A Sudbury woman who claimed £13,371 in benefits despite inheriting £25,000 was given a community order by magistrates on Thursday.
Tashya Delacey, 24, from Church Road, had admitted failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions about the change in her circumstances when she appeared at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court last month.
She had continued to claim income support for 25 months up until August last year after a bond, left to her by her late father, matured.
She also admitted making a false statement to Babergh District Council in June 2011 in order to claim housing and council tax benefits.
The court heard on Thursday how Delacey started claiming income support in October 2009 as she was a lone parent living with her mother. In July 2011, she moved into her current address with her now three-year-old daughter and started claiming for housing and council tax benefits.
Lauren Bond, prosecuting for both authorities, said: “In August 2012, Babergh and the DWP began a joint investigation after information was received that she had capital in excess of £16,000.” Anyone with more than that amount is ineligible to claim benefits.
The court heard that Delacey was interviewed under caution in August and said that, in May 2009, she had held a joint account with her mother containing £25,000 left by her father, who died when Delacey was four.
“She did not declare it as she couldn’t touch it until she was 21, but she confirmed that she knew she should have done,” said Miss Bond, who said Delacey admitted failing to declare the change in circumstances when the bond matured in May 2010 and when making her claims in July 2011, despite notifying her change of address.
“She clearly knew the way the system worked and that she had to notify the authorities of any changes in her circumstances,” said Miss Bond.
“She did not notify the DWP as it ‘completely slipped her mind’ and she admitted being dishonest.”
The amount claimed by Delacey was £5,741.49 in housing support, £841.73 in council tax benefit and £6,734.05 in income support, totalling £13,317.27.
Miss Bond said: “She is paying it back, £21.30 per month for income support and £10 per month for housing and council tax benefit. It is slowly being clawed back.”