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Gym Memberships And The NDIS

What You Need to Know About Memberships!

Participating in sporting activities can be a fantastic way to be fit, healthy, and socially active within your community. If you’re wanting to focus on being more active and social, it’s a good idea to include this in your NDIS goals to ensure that the correct budget categories can be added to your plan. The NDIS can provide funding towards supporting your goals if they meet the Reasonable & Necessary criteria.

Let's get physical!

The NDIS recognises that regular physical activity can be beneficial, especially when tailored towards the specific needs of a disability. These benefits can include:

- Stronger bones and muscles

- Lower blood pressure

- Improved cholesterol

- Reduced risk of heart problems

- Reduced stress and anxiety

- Improved mental health

As a NDIS participant, it is possible to receive funding for sporting activities and sporting equipment. It is important that this must be related to the stated goals within your plan and meet the Reasonable & Necessary criteria.

What do my funds cover?

Sporting activities can potentially be funded from one of three support categories. Within Capacity Building is the option of the Increased Health and Wellbeing or

Increased Social and Community Participation budget categories. Within the Core Budgets is the option for Assistance with Social and Community Participation.

Increased Health and Wellbeing – this support category can help cover exercise physiology and personal training.

Increased Social and Community Participation – this support category can help you to build your skills and independence through fitness classes, coaching, and other recreational activities in a one-on-one capacity and group classes. Gym memberships and other such membership costs are discussed later in this blog.

Assistance with Social and Community Participation – this support category can help you to participate in sporting activities through supports, such as with a support worker.

Can my funds cover equipment?

The NDIS can potentially also fund specialised sporting equipment. There are two categories of funding that this can utilise. Within the Core Budgets is the option for Consumables. Alternatively, there is also the Assistive Technology budget category.

Consumables – this support category covers the cost of adapting basic equipment to suit specialised needs. The NDIS won’t typically cover the cost of basic/off-the-shelf items, but they can cover the cost of any disability-required modifications needed on such equipment.

Assistive Technology – this support category covers specialised equipment provided by a specialist disability supplier. For this type of equipment to be funded, you will either need a recommendation from your service provider or an OT assessment depending on the AT costing.

Can I use my funds for a Gym Membership?

Gym membership is frequently a common request to have funded through a NDIS plan. Whether this is suitable for accessing funding is sometimes tricky to determine.

Typically speaking, the NDIS does not consider gym memberships to be suitable. The reasons they generally give for this are as follows:

- Gym membership is an everyday expense everyone can be expected to pay, regardless of disability.

- The membership costs are not related to the participants' disability.

If you believe you can prove that gym membership expenses do meet the Reasonable & Necessary criteria, then there remains a possibility this can be funded. Alternatively, you can claim for the expense of a support worker assisting you in a gym environment, but not the gym fees directly.

Other membership fees, for example pool, sports club, or social groups, would also fall under the same criteria and requirements.

Some additional limits and restrictions are placed on what activities and equipment the NDIS will fund. These budget categories are intended for people participating at an entry level rather than at a professional level or for competitions. This means that the NDIS will not fund competitions with significant prize money or performance contracts, and they won’t fund competing at State or National Championships or higher.

Do these meet my goals?

To ensure that these activities or equipment can be funded from your plan, it is important to consider your goals and what is allocated within your plan. If the required budget categories are not included in your plan, then it can be difficult – or even impossible – to have certain supports or activities funded.

It is important to have clear goals outlined prior to your NDIS planning meeting or plan review meeting with any supporting evidence you may have, so the NDIA can assess what funding you may need to put your goals into action.


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