An unemployed man carried on claiming benefits after getting a job.
Magistrates were told David Proudfoot needed the extra money to pay debts he built up while out of work.
Justin Gibson, prosecuting, told Sunderland Magistrates Court: “An inquiry was launched after the authorities received information.
“Proudfoot had been claiming unemployment and housing benefit while he was out of work. He obtained a job with HREB Ltd, but carried on claiming the benefits for about three months.
“The total overpayment was £842.29. He has since repaid some money, but there is still £736.29 outstanding.
“Proudfoot claimed at first he was not working at the company at the time, but their records confirmed he was.
Proudfoot, 32, of Elms West, Ashbrooke, Sunderland, admitted failing to notify a change of circumstances, and making a false statement to obtain benefits, both between August 4 and October 3, 2014.
Ian Haq, defending, said: “Mr Proudfoot accrued debts which he was concerned his wages would not cover, so he allowed his benefits claim to run on. He now has another job, and it is in everyone’s interests if he can keep that job to allow him to repay the benefits money.
“If the bench feels this offence passes the custody threshold, the appropriate period of imprisonment could be suspended.
“He is also paying other court fines at £50 a week, which is a significant deduction from his wages.”
Proudfoot was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months.
He was ordered to pay costs and compensation of £821.29, which will be added to his fines account.