A former pub landlady over-claimed more than £17,000 in benefits because she did not pay attention to her bank account balances, a court has heard.
Sandra Meyer, 57, failed to notice that she had been overpaid £17,361.19 in various benefits over a two-year period.
The former pub landlady, from Accrington, was forced to quit work due to health problems and was entitled to certain benefits. But she failed to notify the relevant authorities when her level of savings rose, changing her entitlement to claim.
Blackburn Magistrates Court heard that Meyer had more than £27,000 saved. When interviewed by the DWP, she said she didn’t know her account was in excess as she didn’t check her bank accounts regularly, the court heard.
But the chairman of the bench said that was not a defence. He added: “That is a lot of money which could have been spent on people who are more deserving.”
Meyer, of Marlborough Road, Accrington, pleaded guilty to failing to notify the Department of Work and Pensions of changes to her entitlement to employment support allowance between April 2009 and March 2012.
She also admitted failing to notify Blackburn and Darwen council of changes to council tax and housing benefit entitlement between April 2009 and December 2010.
Graham Parkinson, defending, said Meyer has already started to repay the money.
He said the mum suffers from a number of health problems, including frozen shoulders, and is unfit for work.
Mr Parkinson said Meyer was entitled to claim benefits and had an ‘exemplary’ record - but had assets tied up in a pub which her family worked to have released into her accounts. She had also started to receive regular payments from the Child Support Agency.
He said: “She accepts she did not keep an eye on anything.
“This is not a case where she has gone to get as much out of the state as she can.
“She has genuine health problems and has been neglectful with how she manages her affairs.”
Magistrates gave Meyer a two-month electronically monitored curfew order from 9pm to 7am.
She must also pay £85 costs and £60 victim surcharge.