A mother of five was overpaid more than £24,500 in benefits after failing for more than three years to report she was again living with her husband.
Kimberley Brummitt (42) made a claim for income support from June 2006, having separated from her husband, Michael, in April that year.
The claim also meant she was entitled to housing and council tax benefit.
But the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) began an investigation in October 2011 and Brummitt admitted she began living with her husband again shortly before the birth of one of their children in June 2008.
Rebecca Ritson, prosecuting, said Brummitt was overpaid £11,351.53 in income support, £10,820.10 in housing benefit and £2,388.66 in council tax benefit over a period of more than three years.
Brummitt, of Albert Avenue, Gedney, admitted failing to notify the DWP of a change of circumstances between June 11 2008 and November 2 2011 that would affect her entitlement to income support and a similar charge of failing to notify South Holland District Council of a change that would affect her entitlement to housing and council tax benefit.
Spalding magistrates on Thursday ordered a same-day probation report before sentencing Brummitt to a community order and 150 hours unpaid work.
She must also pay £100 prosecition costs.
The court heard Brummitt is repaying the benefits.
Commenting on the unpaid work order, solicitor Rachel Stevens, mitigating, said: “It will be a substantial punishment for her.
“She’s an exhausted mother of five children.”
Miss Stevens said Brummitt and her husband were reconciled shortly before the birth of their fourth baby and life was “extremely hectic” for her at that time, but it didn’t enter her head later to do anything about the claim.
“She just got into the habit of this being the money the family had to live on,” Miss Stevens said.