A WOMAN wrongly claimed more than £38,000 in benefits by saying she was a single mum living on her own.

Chelsea Edwards, 26, of Landsbury Road, Canvey, was living with her partner Lee Miles while claiming income support, council tax and housing benefit.

The mum-of-two would not have been entitled to any of the £38,287 benefits as her partner had a full time job, Colchester Magistrates’ Court heard on Friday.

Philip Pearson, prosecuting, said: “She had separated, she told the authority, from her partner Mr Miles in August 2009.

“She continued to receive income support from September 1 2009 until October 27 2012 on the basis that she was a single parent.

“The first charge may not have have been fradulent from the outset but the others were.”

He added she made declarations about her situation to the Jobcentre but failed to let them know she was living with her partner.

Edwards also admitted wrongly claiming housing and council tax benefit from both Basildon and Rochford Council.

She pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and two counts of dishonestly failing to disclose information to make a gain.

The charges relate to claims between September 2009 and October 2010, for differing periods.

Andrew Andrews, defending, asked for magistrates to deal with the case rather than send it to Crown Court. He said: “The relationship was on off.

“She had the onus and the obligation to notify the DWP and the council that she was living together over that period but this is not a claim where the claimant was dishonest from the outset.”

Magistrates decided their sentencing powers were not sufficient for the case and asked that it be sent to Chelmsford Crown Court where she will be sentenced on May 12.