Recreation, sport and the NDIS

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Recreational activities, including sport, are an important part of community inclusion and can offer the opportunity to develop social connections for people with disability.

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
  • You will need to show the NDIS that sport or recreational activity has a benefit and fits within your goals and objectives

Not only that, sport and other recreational activities can be fun and provide great boosters to your health and wellbeing.

If you are interested in playing sport, 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
  • Assistance building your skills to participate in sport and recreational activities
  • Personal assistance to participate in recreational 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

What support and funding you receive through the NDIS will be dependent on your situation and what modifications you need to access sporting opportunities.

Limitations to NDIS funding

There are some limits to what the NDIS will fund when it comes to social and 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 the NDIS will not fund include:

  • Any costs associated with engaging in activities, such as costs other participants would need to pay like entry fees, registration and membership fees
  • General equipment to take part in sport or recreational activity, such as clothing or sport related-equipment, like a ball if you want to join a basketball team
  • Supports for a young child to participate in sport or recreation activities that would normally be expected of a parent to provide assistance with, like taking your child to a game or training

The aim of the NDIS providing funding to sports and recreation is to ensure you can access these activities with your disability, which would fall under the Core budget category in your NDIS plan.

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, it will be unlikely that the NDIS would fund registration or membership fees 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.

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

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