A nearly blind Czech national assumed a false identity and claimed thousands of pounds in benefits after he was ordered to be deported, a court heard.
Rudolf Kaderabek’s real identity documents had been seized by the Home Office ahead of him being removed from the UK.
The married 42-year-old, who has only 20% sight in one eye, then used the name and personal details of a friend living in the Czech Republic and claimed about £15,000 in disability living allowance.
Kaderabek could have continued to get away with the deception but for him deciding to come clean with the authorities last month.
He admitted to police he was doing wrong and could not live a lie any longer, Maidstone Crown Court was told.
Kaderabek, of Wellington Street, Gillingham, admitted fraud and possessing identity documents with improper intention.
He was jailed for a year and told on his release he would be transferred to an immigration detention centre while the Home Office considers his case.
The deportation order was made because of “owed maintenance” in the Czech Republic, but never went ahead because of an amnesty.
Not having identity documents and unable to work because of his sight disability, Kaderabek contacted a friend, who sent him his own.
They were then used to claim disability living allowance from August 2014 for three years.
Judge Charles Macdonald was told Kaderabek was likely to be totally blind within four years.
Maggie Biglou, defending, said the offence was initially triggered by the need for medical treatment.
“He made it clear he didn’t want to keep up the lie anymore,” she added. “He wanted the matter over with and to face the music.”