Christchurch woman Natalie Marie Green, 35, was given more than $10,000 in a public Givealittle campaign after her house burned down two years ago.
Two days later, she started a police chase from Hornby through the city, before crashing her car into a home on Centaurus Rd causing almost $70,000 of damage.
On Tuesday she was in the High Court appealing an order to pay damages to her victims, on the grounds of family hardship.
Her lawyer, Nick Rout, told the court she was unable to pay that amount.
Green and her husband are unemployed and on benefits, earning a total of $729 a week, he said.
"Her husband is the only one who can drive the family around, so there is no ability of either to work," he said.
He said the money from the Givealittle campaign had been spent replacing things damaged in the fire.
He asked for the reparation amount to be reduced to $45 per week, which would add up to close to $12,000 over five years.
Judge David Gendall reserved his decision.
On February 4 last year, Green's home in Hornby was damaged in a minor fire, then completely burned down in a suspected arson two days later.
A Givealittle fundraising page was set up by a friend to help the family, who were not insured.
Green was pregnant at the time with her third child. Her oldest child, who was 9 at the time, has cerebral palsy.
On February 8, the police were called after reports she was driving erratically and crashing her car into other vehicles in Hornby.
The police chased her car for about 15 minutes but abandoned the pursuit because of her erratic driving, shortly before she crashed in Hillsborough.
Witnesses said she drove at more than 100km/h through residential streets and came close to hitting several children playing on the footpath.
She caused an estimated $68,130 in damage.
The Givealittle page was shut down shortly after the news came to light, but not before about $10,390 had been donated.
About half of the money was refunded, but the rest, about $5000, was given to Green.
She was sentenced in court to seven-and-a-half months' home detention, and ordered to pay $150 a week in damages to the victims, which would add up to almost $40,000 over five years.