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26 April 2022

Assistance with Social and Community Participation.

Here at Leap in! we are regularly asked questions about each of the budget categories, what they can be used for and what the rules mean in practice.

So, today we are taking a fresh look at Assistance with Social and Community Participation so you can spend your NDIS funds with confidence.

If you’d like a little refresher on the three budget categories – Core, Capital and Capacity Building supports – check out NDIS Plan budget categories explained.

What is Assistance with Social and Community Participation?

Assistance with Social and Community Participation is a budget under the NDIS Core supports category. You can use this funding to improve your ability to participate in community, social and recreational activities. The support category is now officially called Assistance with Social, Economic and Community Participation and can be used to fund economic activities (such as volunteering or work experience). 

Social, economic and community participation includes things like support to attend community-based activities and assistance to participate in social groups. The activities may take place in a range of locations such as in the community, in a centre or at a sporting venue.

How the NDIS supports social and community participation.

There are many potential benefits associated with being actively involved in and connected with your community. Assistance with Social, Economic and Community Participation funding is designed to help break down some of the barriers you may face to participating fully in society.

Assistance with social and community participation NDIS examples.

  • Recreational and sporting activities
  • Support to participate in social groups or spend time with friends
  • Visiting your local library
  • Building skills, taking up a new interest or learning new things
  • Volunteering
  • Camps, classes and vacation activities
  • A support worker to assist you to participate in social and community activities such as the above.

What you can pay for with Social and Community Participation funding.

Social and Community Participation funding is most likely to cover costs associated with getting to and participating in activities rather than the costs of the activities themselves.

For example, you might want to attend your local community centre to learn a craft-based activity like woodwork.

You may be able to use your Social and Community Participation funding to pay for a support worker to:

  • Transport you to and from the activity
  • Attend with you
  • Help you get the most out of the class such as providing Auslan interpreting, communication support or assistance with completing activities
  • Support with using the bathroom, eating or other personal care requirements while you are out and about.

The worker’s time can be claimed at the agreed hourly rate for both transport time and time spent accompanying you during the activity.

What is not covered?

This is where Social and Community Participation funding can get a little tricky. You can’t generally use your NDIS funding to pay for the cost of coaching, course fees or class fees such as a woodworking class or a TAFE course.

So, in the example above, it’s likely that you would have to pay for the woodwork activity and any associated equipment yourself.

However, if it is a ‘reasonable and necessary’ cost that relates to your disability and is closely connected to the goals in your NDIS Plan, you may be able to use your NDIS Plan to pay for some costs associated with participating.

Keep in mind, the following are generally not covered by the NDIS:

  • Ticket prices or entry fees such as movie tickets or entry to a museum
  • Ticket prices or entry fees for your support worker or a person accompanying you
  • The cost of meals, coffee or other food items while you are attending activities
  • Equipment costs such as buying sporting gear except for the purchase of specialised equipment related to your disability.

Core supports versus Capacity Building supports funding.

It’s really easy to get confused with the two types of community participation funding that can be included in your NDIS Plan.

  • Under Core Supports Assistance with social, economic and community participation funding can be used for a support worker to help you participate in social, employment and community activities.
  • Under Capacity Building supports, Increased social and community participation, funding is used for development and training to build independence and help you access the community. Examples include establishing mentoring or peer support, training in the use of public transport and funds to try out new activities or tools connected with the goals in your NDIS Plan. 

Leap in! can help you.

Talk to us about the best way to prepare for your NDIS Plan or Plan Review meeting – we can make sure you have the very best chance of getting the help you need. Call 1300 05 78 78 or chat with us online via our website.

Initially published 14 March 2019, updated 8 October 2020 and 26 April 2022.

Further Reading

Assistance with Daily Life: NDIS budget areas explained.

What does the NDIS pay for? Everything you need to know.

Music classes and the NDIS: How Tristan discovered a passion for bass.