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Sports, Gyms and the NDIS

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. The NDIS can provide funding towards supporting your goals if they meet reasonable and necessary criteria.

Man in specialised wheelchair playing tennis

How funding for sport works

The NDIS recognises that regular physical activity can be beneficial. Some of the benefits include:

  • Stronger bones and muscles

  • Lower blood pressure

  • Improved cholesterol

  • Reduced the risk of heart problems

  • Reduced stress and anxiety

  • Improved mental health

As an NDIS participant it is possible to receive funding for sporting activities and sporting equipment so long as it is related to your goals and considered reasonable and necessary.

Sporting Activities

Sporting activities can be funded under two support categories – Capacity Building Support: Increased Social & Community Participation, Improved Health and Wellbeing, and Core Support: Assistance with Social & Community Participation.

Capacity Building Support: Increased Social & 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 or group classes.

Capacity Building Support: Improved Health and Wellbeing – this support category can help to cover exercise physiology and personal training.

Core Support: Assistance with Social & Community Participation – this support category can help you to participate in sporting activities through supports, such as a support person.

Sporting Equipment

As well as being able to fund supports for participation in supporting activities, the NDIS can fund specialised sporting equipment. There are two categories that funding can fall under – Consumables (Core Supports) and Assistive Technology (Capital Supports).

Core Supports: Consumables – this support category covers the cost of adapting basic equipment to suit specialised needs. The NDIS won’t typically cover the cost of the basic (or “off-the-shelf”) item, but they can cover the additional cost of any modifications needed for the basic equipment. There are some cases where an off-the-shelf, low-cost item may be covered by the NDIS if it meets reasonable and necessary criteria.

Capital Supports: 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.

Gym memberships… will the NDIS fund them?

This is a tricky one to answer especially following the NDIS Would We Fund It? resource, where they gave two examples of gym membership requests both of which were denied.

The reasons they provided in the examples for denying the requests were:

  • Gym memberships being considered a day-to-day living expense

  • The membership was not directly related to their disability

Of course, things are not always that simple. If you can prove it is reasonable and necessary and provide enough supporting evidence, it may be possible to have a gym membership funded through the NDIS. If the NDIS still deny the request, and you feel it is reasonable and necessary, there are avenues you can take to have the decision reviewed. For more information on this topic, click here.

Funding limitations

There are some limitations when it comes to funding sporting activities, equipment and supports. Funding in this area is typically 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.

Setting your goals

When setting your goal, it’s important to think about what you want to achieve in your life. If you want to engage more within your community, build stronger relationships, better your health and wellbeing, or learn new a skill, then participating in sports may help you to work towards and achieve this goal. It’s important to remember that 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 in to action.

How being Plan Managed can help

Many sporting groups and organisations are not registered with the NDIS. This is typically because registering with the NDIS can be an expensive and time-consuming process. Having a plan manager – like us! – gives you greater choice and control over who you engage. With plan management (or self-management) you can choose from registered and unregistered providers and organisations to ensure that you find the right fit for you.

Read more about the benefits of working with an independent, professional Plan Manager. Alternatively, contact our friendly team on 1300 322 273 or



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