Recreation, sport and the NDIS

Recreation, sport and the NDIS

Recreational activities, including sport, are an important part of community inclusion and can offer the opportunity to develop social connections as well. 

Key points: 

  • The NDIS can help fund the support you need to participate in sport and recreational activities

  • There are some limitations to the types of support that the NDIS will fund, for example, the NDIS won’t fund the cost of competing at a professional level

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) may provide funding to remove any barriers for you to participate in sports and recreational activities.

What support can I get?

If you are eligible for the NDIS and you have participating in sports or recreational activities included as a goal in your plan, you may be provided with funding to access support for this.

The types of support the NDIS may fund to help you participate in sports and recreational activities include: 

  • Purchase of specialised sporting equipment or modification of equipment, for example, if you need a specific type of wheelchair or special equipment to play.

  • Personal assistance to participate in recreation activities, for example, if you need someone to help you change into sports clothes or manipulate equipment.

  • Transport to a recreation event or activity where it is not reasonable to expect family or the community to provide the transport and where you’re not able to use public transport independently.

Limitations to NDIS funding

There are some limits to what the NDIS will fund when it comes to recreation supports.

Funding for aids and equipment is generally funded at a level that allows someone to participate at an entry-level. This means they are not intended to facilitate someone participating in professional level or representative competitions. 

For example, The NDIS will not fund competing at competitions with significant prize money or performance contracts. It will also not fund competing at State or National Championships. 

Other things to consider

Before including funding for recreation support in a plan, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) needs to be satisfied that the support will assist you with meeting the goals and objectives set out in your plan. 

You’ll need to explain what sporting or recreational activity you’re interested in and how that will help you achieve your goals and objectives.

Your goal may be developing greater inclusion in the community and recreation and sport can help you with this or you may want to work towards fitness goals to improve your strength and overall function.  

When considering a request for support the NDIA must also be satisfied that the support being provided relates to your disability, as they do not provide funding for things “not related to a participant's functional limitations”.

For example, sporting activities will likely have costs associated with them that are common for anyone who wants to participate, such as registration or membership fees. In this example, it will be unlikely that the NDIS would fund these as it is expected every person would pay these fees. 

However, the NDIS may instead fund a support worker to assist you in preparing and participating in a recreational activity.

If you require any modifications to the equipment required to participate in your chosen sport, the NDIS may fund the “reasonable and necessary” costs associated with equipment, if it is over and above the usual cost for the equipment or the cost of modifying the equipment.

So if you need a modified or specialised saddle for horse riding as a result of your disability, the NDIS may fund the additional cost of the saddle. However, only the difference between the reasonable cost of the modified or specialised saddle and a standard saddle will be covered.

If you’re looking at a sport or activity and it is only offered at a mainstream sporting location, you may still be able to participate. 

Mainstream organisations can request funding to help make them more inclusive for people with disability; for example, in South Australia, they can request funding through the State Government

What sporting or recreational activities do you participate in? Tell us in the comment section below!

Related links