Former Dover MP Charlie Elphicke was jailed for two years for three counts of sexual assault in September 2020.
He was released after a year but still owes prosecution costs.
He told Uxbridge magistrates he had been living "hand-to-mouth" and his financial position had not changed.
Elphicke presented Universal Credit and bank statements to show he still cannot pay.
He told the court he had been trying to find "any kind of employment", adding: "I'm working very closely with my job coach and a creative writing charity.
"The level of flexibility I have in terms of career options is limited."
The 51-year-old also said he was "industriously writing" and hoping to publish books "in due course", and that the Feltham job centre in west London was monitoring his progress every week.
The former lawyer and government whip is living in a one-bedroom flat in Hammersmith and has no savings or assets, having spent "everything" on his defence, the court heard.
After magistrates asked if he had considered stacking shelves at a supermarket, he said he had been considering it and was also "actively looking at building site work".
He said he faced a "very difficult and embarrassing situation", adding: "I don't particularly enjoy living in this circumstance. I'm very committed not to be staying in this position."
Elphicke, who was released halfway through his sentence in September 2021, had been ordered by sentencing judge, Mrs Justice Whipple, to pay prosecution costs within a year.
In a court hearing last December, he asked for more time and was given until 15 September this year.
Elphicke told magistrates his repayment term should continue until September - "at which point I hope I might be able to make a more positive proposal".
However, magistrate Ian Chick said he was "perturbed" by the lack of payment so far.
He ordered Elphicke to contribute £200 a month before paying the whole amount by the September deadline.