A mother-of-two illegally claimed more than £37,000 in benefits and spent some of her handouts on holidays, including a trip to Disneyland Paris, a judge heard.
Melissa Carson failed to tell the authorities she had moved in with her partner and they were living together as husband and wife, Stafford Crown Court was told.
But for nearly two-an-a-half years, Carson carried on claiming benefits, including income support and housing benefit.
Miss Sophie Lomas, prosecuting, said the amount overpaid to Carson was £37,879.
Carson, aged 30, of Emmanuel Way, Burntwood, who admitted two charges of failing to notify a change in circumstances, was given a 26-week jail sentence suspended for a year.
Recorder Mr Adam Feest told her: “I wonder how your children would fare if you were sent to prison today?”
“Someone who, in effect, steals nearly £38,000, many people would think I should send to prison,” he added.
Miss Lomas said Carson was questioned after the Department for Works and Pensions received evidence that she was living with someone. She admitted she had moved in with her partner, Andrew Timms, in 2009, initially on a temporary basis, but then permanently.
They had made inquiries about sorting out the benefits situation but did not pursue it, the court heard on Friday.
The benefits money had been spent on everyday items but there were also holidays, including a visit to Disneyland Paris.