Michael Mills (Tory)
Michael Mills, 64, a member of Holywell town council in Flintshire at the time, was caught after a tip-off. He used her pension card 110 times.
Mills said he had been in a "state of shock" after the death of his wife.
But magistrates said they were extremely serious offences, which he knew were wrong.
Mills admitted 14 fraud charges at an earlier hearing.
Defending solicitor Brian Cross said when Mills came to understand that what he had done in an emotional state was wrong, he did not have the courage to report it and buried his head in the sand.
"He is genuinely remorseful," Mr Cross told Flintshire magistrates, sitting in Mold.
Mills, a retired miner from Greenfield, told the court his "head just went" after the death in 2010 of his wife of 42 years, Brenda.
He added: "I was walking around - as if I had had a nervous breakdown for more than a couple of months."
There were emotional scenes when he was handcuffed and led away to the cells.
Prosecutor Tony Newnes said that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) received anonymous information that he was continuing to claim his dead wife's benefits.