A St Helens mum who continued to claim full income support and tax credits after her children were taken into care has narrowly avoided jail.
The 34-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed £14,000 between June 2012 and 2014.
But she had earlier failed to inform the Department of Work and Pensions her two children had been taken into care, knowing this would change her entitlement to benefits.
She had denied the offence but changed her plea to guilty shortly before her trial was due to start on January 28.
JPs at St Helens Magistrates Court ordered her to repay the overpayment back in full.
She was also given a eight-week suspended jail sentence and ordered to pay £100 court costs.