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10. Recreation supports
Recreation (including sport) is any activity, pastime or hobby that is carried out for enjoyment or leisure. Recreation can offer opportunities for social inclusion and participation, as well as the associated benefits of improved health and well-being, improved skills and capabilities, heightened self-esteem and enhanced enjoyment of life for both the participant and their support network.
Recreation supports include, for example:
- specialised sporting equipment or modification of equipment;
- personal assistance to participate in recreation activities, for example changing into sports clothes, manipulating equipment, positioning to undertake the activities;
- assistance to travel to a recreation event in which the participant is engaged, where it is not reasonable to expect that family or the community would provide the transport and where the participant is not able to independently use public transport; or
- assistance for organisations to adjust to the specific needs of their member who is a NDIS participant where that adjustment is not part of their universal obligations under reasonable adjustment (for example, training for a team captain to assist his or her football team to adjust to the needs of a team member who has an intellectual impairment).
Recreation supports which consist of aids and equipment are generally funded at a level that allows independence at an entry level to the activity and are not intended to facilitate participation in representative competitions (for example, competing in State or National Championships), nor professional level involvement (for example, competitions with significant prize money or performance contracts).
Before including a recreation support in a participant’s plan, the NDIA must be satisfied that all options and opportunities available to the participant in their local community have been explored.
Where funding is required, the NDIA must be satisfied, amongst other matters that the support will assist the participant to pursue their goals, objectives and aspirations. In relation to recreation support, it is important that the support relates to one or more participatory goals. For example, developing greater social networks or greater inclusion in the community.
In relation to recreation supports, the NDIA must consider, amongst other matters, whether the support relates to a participant’s disability (see what are the general criteria for supports?). Recreation activities are likely to have costs associated with them that are usual for all people, for example registration or membership fees.
The NDIA will fund recreation supports that are related to the participant’s disability, not expenses that are ordinarily funded from a person’s income. For example, the NDIA may fund a support worker to assist a participant to prepare and participate in a recreational activity.
If a participant requires any modifications to the usual equipment required to participate in their chosen recreational activity, the NDIS may fund the reasonable and necessary costs associated with equipment (over and above the usual cost for the equipment) or the cost of modifying the equipment.
For example, if a participant who engages in horse riding requires a modified or specialised saddle as a result of their disability, the additional cost of the saddle may be an appropriate support for the NDIS to fund. Note, only the additional cost would be funded (i.e. the difference between the reasonable cost of the modified or specialised saddle and a standard saddle).