A grandmother who concealed a £650 a month pension from the authorities has been jailed for six months at Lincoln Crown Court after admitting benefit fraud.
Susan Patchett received the works pension following the death of her husband back in 1985 but when she began a new relationship she did not tell her partner about the income.
Ben Close, prosecuting, said that Patchett’s partner subsequently claimed benefits for both of them declaring that neither he nor Patchett had any other income.
Mr Close said that when the partner was questioned he had no idea that Patchett was receiving the pension which related to her late husband’s employment at British Sugar.
By the time the matter came to light the fraud had been going on for nearly 10 years and involved an overpayment of £56,275.
Patchett later told the authorities that she did not know that the income needed to be reported as tax was being deducted and she assumed that HMRC would have informed the Department for Work and Pensions.
Mr Close said that at the start of the fraud the pension was £480 a month but by 2012 it had risen to £650 a month.
Patchett ,53, of Lock Row, Torksey, near Gainsborough, admitted benefit fraud.
Judge Sean Morris told her “People who cheat the state in this way deprive the real needy of money and they give the real needy a bad name as they make people think that those on benefits are all scroungers when they are not.”
“They are claiming because they are in a desperate way.”
Sunil Khanna, defending, said Patchett has a large family including nine grandchildren and also acts as guardian for a disabled nephew.
He urged the judge to impose a suspend jail sentence and added “She has no experience of custody.”
“She is terrified of the prospect.”
“She is desperately, desperately sorry for what she has done.”