A Calderdale man claimed almost £3,000 in benefits he was not entitled to after he started working full-time in a warehouse.
But he confessed his crime to the authorities and nearly paid off the cash he owed before his case came to court a year later.
Robert Smith, 54, had made a legitimate claim for housing benefit and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) in June 2015.
Kirklees magistrates were told that this was on the basis that he was unemployed and had no other source of income.
However, he was still claiming these benefits when in July 2016 he started a 40 hour a week job.
This was as a warehouse operative with PVC windows supplier Polyframe, which is based in Halifax.
Prosecutor Shamaila Qureshi told the Huddersfield court that he should have told Calderdale Council and the Department for Work and Pensions about a change in his circumstances but failed to do so.
Smith was overpaid £2,972 between July 6 and November 9, 2016 as a result of the fraud.
He pleaded guilty to two charges of dishonestly failing to notify a change of circumstances likely to affect his entitlement to a benefit.
Mike Sisson-Pell, mitigating, explained that his client’s original claim was genuine.
He said: “Then he went from being on the sick to working and hasn’t notified that change. That’s due in part to an oversight and in part to his financial commitments.”
Magistrates were told that Smith was “a bit of a rogue” in his younger days and had a number of previous convictions for dishonesty but had stayed clear from these for over 20 years.
Mr Sisson-Pell said: “He’s become a decent and hard-working citizen and fully admitted his culpability over a year ago.
“The DWP dithered with it and did nothing for 12 months. What would most people do in this time? Nothing, but what he did was exceptional.
“He went to see them and said: ‘I owe you all this money, can you make an attachment to my earnings?’
“They agreed and have been taking £70 a week. He’s paid nearly all of it off.
“Perhaps this defendant deserves more credit than the norm because he’s made sterling efforts to pay back what he owed.”
Magistrates praised Smith, of Diamond Street in Halifax, for using his initiative in paying the money back.
They fined him £150 and told him to pay £85 costs plus £30 victim surcharge.