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28 March 2023

Sports activities: What will the NDIS fund?

Being both physically and socially active through playing a sport can provide great benefits to your health as well as keep you connected to your community.

If playing a sport or joining a sports team is one of your goals, the NDIS may be able to fund disability-related supports to help you get there.

Here are some things to think about, including what the NDIS may fund when it comes to sports activities and what’s not covered.


NDIS sports and recreation support.

 Funding for sporting activities is usually referred to as social and recreation support by the NDIS.

 This means the extra help you need to take part in social and recreational (including sporting) activities because of your disability.

 Examples include:

  •   Active hobbies such as bike riding, skiing or kayaking
  •   Sporting activities such as tennis or surfing
  •   Team sports such as football, soccer, basketball or netball.

 You will need to pay for the costs of the activity that everyone would pay for like membership fees and uniforms.

 Sports activities fall under two support categories: Capacity Building and Core supports:

  •   Assistance with Social and Community Participation (Core support). This category is flexible, can fund a wide range of activities and include a support person or translator in addition to the support you need to participate. If you have funding in the Core budget in your plan, you can use this flexibly to help you participate in sporting activities.
  •   Increased Social and Community Participation (Capacity Building support). Funds activities or supports that help you participate independently, such as building skills.


What will the NDIS cover?

If you need extra help to participate in sport or recreation activities because of your disability, you may be able to use your NDIS funding.

This may include:

  •   Short term support to build skills to help you participate independently
  •   A support worker to assist with things like finding the right clothes to wear, changing into sports clothes or setting you up to join the activity
  •   Transport to and from the activity if your family or the community can’t provide it and you can’t use public transport independently
  •   Personal care while you attend an activity such as assistance to use the bathroom or take medication
  •   Assistive technology, special equipment or equipment modifications to help you participate (eg. a customised bike)
  •   Training for instructors or coaches to help them understand your needs.

Keep in mind that all supports you purchase with NDIS funds must meet the reasonable and necessary criteria.


Sports activities the NDIS won’t fund.

  •   Gym or sports club membership – see the NDIS case study examples.
  •   Standard equipment (although it may fund modifications)
  •   Uniforms, standard active wear or clothing
  •   Entry and registration fees
  •   Participation in activities at a professional or elite level (such as state championships)
  •   Support for a young child to participate in a sports activity where parents would normally be expected to stay and support the child.


Set your goals.

The NDIS needs to know that any supports funded will help you pursue the goals in your plan.

 If your goals include participating more in the community, making new friends, improving your health or learning a new skill, then sports activities may help you achieve those goals.

An example goal could be something like “I want to improve my fitness and coordination and make new friends who have similar interests.”


Good to know.

  •   The NDIS may consider it better value for money to hire or lease specialised sporting equipment instead of purchasing it
  •   If you need more complex equipment or assistive technology for sporting participation, you will need an assessment by an occupational therapist prior to purchase
  • The NDIS will consider if children need extra support because of their disability compared to other children the same age, and what is reasonable for family, friends and the community to provide.


We can help.

Did you know the Leap in! app has a dedicated section for setting and managing goals which will make preparing for your NDIS plan meeting or plan reassessment easier. 

If you would like to find out more, check out the app, call the Leap in! Crew on 1300 05 78 78, or sign up to Leap in! plan management today.

 Originally published 15 August 2019, updated 11 January 2023.


Further reading.

Being active for health and wellbeing.

NDIS budget categories: Improved Health & Wellbeing.

Riding for the Disabled: How can it help?

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