Want to get involved in sport or the gym? Here’s how the NDIS can help you

Playing sports or going to the gym is a great way to stay fit, healthy and socially active by being part of a fun sporting club community.

If you love exercising or playing sport and you feel it relates to the goals in your NDIS plan, the NDIS can provide funding so long as the supports you receive are considered to be reasonable and necessary.

Will the NDIS fund a gym membership?

According to the NDIS Would We Fund It? guide, the NDIS would not normally fund a gym membership. This is classed as a daily living cost for people, whether or not they have a disability.

However, 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.

It’s important to note that while the NDIS may not fund your gym membership, they can fund necessary supports to help you attend the gym, such as a support worker to accompany you.

Personal training

While the NDIS may not pay for a gym membership, they may fund a Personal Trainer.

NDIS registered Personal Trainers exist. They sometimes work in gyms, or travel to people's homes. There are several ways you may be able to use a Personal Trainer, depending on your needs.

1. At home:
An NDIS-registered PT can come to you and help you exercise at home or at a location you choose. This can be a great option for getting out and about in your local community, such as exercising at your local park, or around your neighbourhood.

2. In a private gym:
Some NDIS-registered PTs or Exercise Physiologists have a private studio or gym where you can come to them. This is a great option if you want to do more gym-based activities, such as weight training, while being supported by a professional who understands your abilities and needs.

3. In a commercial gym:
Most commercial gyms also offer Personal Training for an additional fee. If your gym does not have an NDIS-registered PT or someone suited to your needs, you may be able to have an NDIS-registered trainer come with you. You would have to pay for the gym membership, and there may be an additional fee to let your PT come to the gym as well. This would be up to you to sort out, while the NDIS could fund the PT to support you.

A Personal Trainer is a great option to consider. A Personal Trainer might cost more than a gym membership, but they can create tailored workouts to suit your abilities and help you smash your fitness goals.

If you are more social and like sports, the NDIS supports two categories for sport.

NDIS funding for sport: how it works

We all know that regular exercise (including sport) has many health benefits, including improved cholesterol, lower blood pressure, stronger bones and muscles and reduced risk of heart problems. It can also boost mental health, reduce stress and build your social network through a fun and supportive community.

The NDIS recognises these benefits and can provide funding for either your sporting activities themselves or part of your sporting equipment. Just keep in mind, funding can only be provided for supports that are considered to be reasonable and necessary. The activity must be relevant to the goals in your NDIS plan.

Sporting activities

There are two NDIS support categories for sport:

1. Increased Social & Community Participation (Category 9). A Capacity Building support designed to help you build your skills and independence.

Supports that help you build your capacity in accessing the community include:

  • fitness classes
  • coaching, and
  • other recreational activities.

These activities are often one-on-one or small group classes.

2. Assistance with Social & Community Participation (Category 4). A Core support that is more flexible, funding a wider range of activities.

This category includes supports that help you participate in team sport, such as a support person. Activities funded under this category do not need to be disability specific. This category is about helping you participate in activities, meet new people, and have fun!

Sporting equipment

The NDIS can also fund specialised sporting equipment that is relative to your disability. This comes under one of two categories:

1. Consumables: For sporting equipment you can buy “off the shelf” but have to pay more for modifications to meet your needs.

You cover the cost of the basic product and the NDIS funds the difference. While the NDIS will not cover the full cost, it can cover what you have to pay over and beyond the base price. For example, if you need a specialised saddle for horse riding, you would cover the cost of a standard saddle and the NDIS covers the cost of any extra modifications.

2. Assistive Technology: For complex equipment from a specialist disability supplier. You will need an OT assessment for this type of equipment. This is to confirm that it is suitable for your needs and is reasonable and necessary.

Get started on your fitness journey

There are plenty of options available through the NDIS to help you get involved in sport and live your best life. While it may seem confusing at first, nothing should hold you back from being able to exercise, play sport, make friends, and look after your health.

If you want to try some social sports activities, why not check out one of our Learning and Lifestyle hubs? Our hubs offer many different hobbies and sport activities designed to help you get active, socialise with other people, and build social and teamwork skills.

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