Federal Lifeline & Minnesota Telephone Assistance Plan
The federal Lifeline discount plan provides a monthly credit on telephone bills. This discount is separate from Minnesota’s Telephone Assistance Plan (TAP), which also offers a monthly credit to customers that meet the eligibility requirements. If you meet the eligibility requirements for the Federal Lifeline discount credit, you also qualify for the Minnesota TAP credit; no other form is necessary. Apply online or download the application and mail in.
Minnesota Relay is a free telephone service that uses specially trained communications assistants (CAs) to facilitate telephone calls between people with hearing and speech disabilities and other individuals. Calls can be made to anywhere in the world (long distance charges apply), 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All calls are completely confidential.
To make a Minnesota Relay call dial 7-1-1. Once connected to the relay service, tell the CA the type of relay call you wish to make. Or, you may dial the specific toll free number for the type of relay service.
For information on Minnesota Relay Services: www.mnrelay.org or 1-800-657-3775.
Types of Relay Services
Captioned Telephone Service (CTS)
CTS uses a special telephone with a text display screen so that a person who is hard of hearing can listen to and read captions of everything the other person on the call says. You speak directly to the other person on the call, and a relay CA transcribes everything the other person says into captions, which appear on the display screen of your CTS phone.
Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS)
Internet-based forms of CTS are available for those who would like to use CTS on a computer, tablet, or select smartphones. Go to: www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/internet-protocol-ip-captioned-telephone-service.
Computer (ASCII): 1-800-627-3529
Computer users can access Minnesota Relay. Set your communications software to the following protocols: speeds ranging from 300 to 2400; 8 Bits; No Parity; 1 Stop Bit; Full Duplex. When calling at a rate of 300 or below, follow the above using Half Duplex.
Hearing Carry Over (HCO): 1-800-627-3529
HCO allows a person who can hear clearly but who has very limited or no speech capability to make and receive phone calls. Using a special text telephone, you type your conversation for the relay CA to read to the other person, and listen directly to the other person’s response.
Hearing User: 1-800-627-3529
A hearing person may use a standard telephone or mobile phone to place a relay call and speak with a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled.
Internet Protocol (IP) Relay:
IP Relay combines text-based relay service with the ease of the Internet – no need for a TTY. You are able to make your relay call using a computer, laptop, tablet, or select smartphones. Go to: www.sprintrelay.com.
Spanish Relay: 1-877-627-5448
Spanish speaking persons with a hearing or speech disability are able to make relay calls. This is not a translation service – both parties must speak Spanish, and at least one party must have a hearing or speech disability.
Speech-to-Speech (STS): 1-877-627-3848
STS allows a person who has difficulty speaking or being understood on the phone to communicate using his or her own voice or voice synthesizer. The CA revoices your words so that the other person on the call can understand them, and the other person speaks directly to you.
Text-Telephone (TTY): 1-800-627-3529
This service allows a person who is deaf, deaf-blind, or speech disabled to use a TTY to communicate with the other person on the call.
Video Relay Service (VRS)
VRS allows a person who uses American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate over the phone. The VRS user connects to the CA via an Internet-enabled device with a video camera. The CA relays the conversation back and forth between the parties – in ASL with the VRS user and by voice with the called party. Go to: www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/video-relay-services.
Voice Carry Over (VCO): 1-877-627-3024
VCO allows a person with a hearing disability, but who wants to use his or her own voice, to speak directly to the other party. The CA then types the other party’s response, which is displayed on the VCO user’s text telephone.
TTY callers should dial 9-1-1 directly in an emergency. All 9-1-1 centers are equipped to handle TTY calls. Minnesota Relay can process emergency calls, but this may delay the response to your call.
Billing Options for Long Distance Relay Calls
- Pre-Paid Calling Card
- Carrier Calling Card
- Third-Party Billing
To File a Complaint Regarding Relay
Email your complaint to email@example.com or call 1-800-657-3775. When filing your complaint please provide:
- the date and time of the relay call
- the CA’s identification number
- the nature of your complaint
You may also file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission:
- Website: www.fcc.gov/complaints
- Voice: 1-888-225-5322
- TTY: 1-888-835-5322
- ASL via VP: 1-844-432-2275
Telephone Equipment Distribution (TED) Program
The TED Program provides free specialized telecommunications equipment to income eligible Minnesotans who are having trouble using the telephone due to a hearing, speech, or physical disability. For more information on the TED Program:
- Voice: 1-800-657-3663
- TTY: 1-888-206-6555
- ASL via VP: 1-866-635-0082