Can the NDIS fund gym memberships?

In the Operational Guidelines, the NDIA provides some examples where gym memberships would not be claimable. They argue that gym memberships are typically a day-to-day living cost that is not disability-related and therefore would not be funded by the NDIS.

However, in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits, the NDIA lists memberships as potentially claimable provided certain conditions are met.

In this article, we examine the information surrounding gym memberships and why you may be able to claim them from the NDIS.


What do the Operational Guidelines say about funding gym memberships?

The Operational Guidelines provide a couple of examples where gym memberships would not be funded by the NDIS.  In these examples, it is argued that gym membership fees are an everyday cost that people must pay regardless of their disability needs.

If a support is not needed as a direct result of your disability support needs, it would not meet the NDIS funding criteria. As such, the guidelines suggest that gym memberships would not typically be claimable even in cases where health and wellbeing or personal fitness is a goal for you.


What are alternatives to help me improve my health and wellbeing?

If your goal is to improve your health and wellbeing, there may be other supports that could be claimed instead of gym membership fees. Supports such as Exercise Physiology, Physiotherapy, or Personal Training may be more appropriate alternatives depending on your disability needs.

In addition to those supports, if you need or assistance from a support worker or low-cost assistive technology to help you access the gym then this may also be claimable.

To discuss what fitness supports may be reasonable and necessary for you, we recommend getting in contact with your Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or Support Coordinator.


Why may memberships be considered claimable?

In the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits, gym memberships are not mentioned. However, memberships are mentioned generally under the category Community, Social and Recreational Activities (pg. 59-60). Under this heading, memberships may be considered a claimable support provided the following conditions are met:

  1. It enables a Participant to engage in community, social or recreational activities
  2. The cost of participation exceeds an affordable amount
  3. Without it, the Participant would be at risk of social isolation

The NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits is considered the highest priority document in the case of conflicting information, so it is our interpretation that gym memberships may be claimable in these situations.


If I meet these conditions, will I get an NDIS-funded gym membership?

Whether or not a claim is successful is ultimately up to the discretion of the NDIA. However, if you think a gym membership meets the above conditions, then you may be able to make a successful claim.

If you want to find out more about how you can use your NDIS funds, give your IDEAL plan managers a call on 1300 800 110. Our friendly team are available from 8:30 am to 7:00 pm AEST.