Minnesota Relay is a free, federally mandated Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) program that allows an individual who is deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or speech disabled to communicate over the telephone in a manner that is functionally equivalent to the ability of an individual who does not have hearing loss or a speech disability.
A specially trained communications assistant (CA) facilitates the telephone conversation between a person with a hearing or speech disability and other individuals. Calls can be made to anywhere in the world (standard charges apply for long-distance calls), 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All calls are completely confidential.
Minnesota Relay is administered by the Telecommunications Access Minnesota (TAM) program within the Minnesota Department of Commerce, and is funded through a monthly surcharge on each wired and wireless telephone access line, and a surcharge on each pre-paid wireless retail transaction, in the state. Minnesota Relay services are provided to the state under contract with Sprint Communications Company, LP. The Minnesota Relay call center is located in Moorhead, MN.
7-1-1 is a toll-free, nationwide relay access number. You may dial 7-1-1 from anywhere in the United States and be connected to the relay service in the state you are calling from. Once connected to the relay service, tell the CA the type of relay call you wish to make (i.e. TTY, HCO, VCO, STS, Spanish, etc.).
The 7-1-1 code is not just for use by persons with disabilities. Voice users can initiate a relay call from any telephone, anywhere in the United States, without having to remember and dial a ten-digit access number.
7-1-1 dialing access does not work for Video Relay Service (VRS), Internet Protocol (IP) Relay, or Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) relay calls, because such calls are initiated through the Internet. Hearing persons initiating a VRS or IP Relay call may do so by calling a provider’s toll-free number. IP CTS users just call their party directly, and a Communications Assistant (CA) is automatically connected to the call.
If you call Minnesota Relay and hear something that sounds like fax tones, or if the line is silent, remain on the call and wait for a Minnesota Relay communications assistant to answer – this could take a minute or longer.
Federal Communications Commission rules require all telephone companies (including wireline, wireless, interconnected Voice over Internet Protocol, and payphone providers) that operate private branch exchanges (PBXs) to implement three-digit 7-1-1 dialing for access to relay services. A PBX is a private telephone system within an organization that switches calls between internal users and allows users to share a certain number of external phone lines. PBX operators are required to modify their equipment to enable 7-1-1 dialing to ensure that everyone benefits from abbreviated dialing and that consumers have easy access to relay services.
Callers from locations served by PBXs may be required to dial 9 or another prefix before entering the 7-1-1 code or placing an outside call.
If you dial 7-1-1 and your call does not go through, contact your office administrator or local telephone service provider to request the availability of the 7-1-1 service in your office. You may also contact Sprint Relay Customer Service at 1-800-676-3777 for assistance with this issue.
If the 7-1-1 dialing access is not working from your phone, you can dial 1-800-627-3529 to be connected to Minnesota Relay.
While the 7-1-1 access number is easy to remember, dialing the direct toll-free number for a specific type of relay call may result in faster connections because the call does not need to be transferred.
To contact a person who uses a single-line CapTel™, dial 1-877-243-2823 and then enter the telephone number of the CapTel user.
For specific instructions on placing or receiving a Minnesota Relay call, please see the instruction sheets provided in the Make or Receive a Relay Call section.
If you do not indicate how you would like your long distance Minnesota Relay call(s) billed, long distance charges will be billed to the number from which you are calling.
The long distance carrier you have chosen for your home service is NOT automatically applied to your Minnesota Relay calls. You must register your long distance carrier to have your long distance relay calls billed through your Carrier of Choice. If you do not indicate a long distance carrier, your long distance Minnesota Relay calls will be carried and billed by Sprint.
You must currently have a billing relationship established with the carrier that you indicate as your Carrier of Choice. If you do not have a billing relationship with the carrier you choose, your call may not go through, or you may be billed at a rate that is much higher than you anticipate.
Minnesota Relay available long distance carriers list (.pdf). Relay users may also contact Sprint’s 24-hour Customer Service at: 1-800-676-3777 (voice/TTY) for a current list of all available long distance carriers.
If your long distance carrier is not listed as an available Carrier of Choice, you are able to file a complaint. We will contact the carrier and assist them with the steps necessary to become a Carrier of Choice.
To register your long distance Carrier of Choice, see the Customer Preference (Profile) Form section.
CapTel relay users who use a single-line CapTel must register their long distance carrier to ensure that their long distance CapTel calls are carried and billed through their existing long distance service or calling plan.
Individuals who place long distance calls to a single-line CapTel relay user must also register their long distance carrier so that their calls are carried and billed through their existing long distance service or calling plan.
You must currently have a billing relationship established with the carrier that you indicate as your Carrier of Choice. If you do not have a billing relationship with the carrier you choose, your call may not go through, or you may be billed at a rate that is much higher than you anticipate. CapTel Relay available long distance carriers list (.pdf).
If your long distance carrier is not listed as an available CapTel Carrier of Choice, you are able to file a complaint. We will contact the carrier and assist them with the steps necessary to become a Carrier of Choice.
CapTel relay users may register their long distance Carrier of Choice online, or they may call CapTel Customer Service at 1-888-269-7477 (voice/CapTel/TTY).
Minnesota Relay allows users to place and receive calls to and from anywhere in the world (using English and Spanish language only).
To place an International relay call from Minnesota dial: 7-1-1 or 1-800-627-3529.
To place a relay call from outside the U.S., dial: 1-605-244-1837.
Minnesota Relay users can make local relay calls from coin-operated public payphones free of charge. Just dial 7-1-1 on most payphones and give them the local number that you wish to call. Long distance relay calls can be charged to a calling card (including a prepaid card), or by calling collect. Coins cannot be used to pay for a long distance relay call from a payphone.
For more information regarding relay calls using payphones visit FCC Payphone Relay Service site.
You can use Minnesota Relay to place calls to directory assistance. When you requests to call directory assistance the relay communications assistant will contact the appropriate directory assistance operator. After obtaining the number, you may choose to place the call through Minnesota Relay or to dial the number directly. (Note: Directory assistance is often subject to charges by your local service provider.)
You should dial 911 or other existing emergency numbers directly in an emergency. All 911 centers are equipped to handle TTY calls. Minnesota Relay can process calls to 911, but this may result in a delay in getting your emergency call through.
Two-line CapTel users should dial 911 directly, and you will be able to view captions of the call as you normally would.
Single-line CapTel calls placed to 911 will connect directly to Emergency 911 services. 911 calls will not be routed through the captioning service. This means:
CapTel Users - How to Dial an Emergency 9-1-1 Call Directly
NOTE: The 911 call-taker will not be able to hear you when he/she is typing messages. After you hang up, the CapTel will remain in Voice Carry Over mode in case 911 calls you back. To turn off Voice Carry Over mode, press the CAPTION button.
Alternative Method for CapTel Users Dialing an Emergency 9-1-1 Call
You may place a call to 911 by using Voice Cary Over relay services. Relay services are equipped to help provide text captions during 911 calls, and are very familiar with Voice Carry Over calling. If you place an emergency call through Voice Carry Over you will receive text captions of everything that the 911 call-taker says. However, you will not be able to hear the 911 call-taker over the CapTel handset.
NOTE: After you hang up, the CapTel will remain in Voice Carry Over mode in case 911 calls you back. Press the CAPTION button to turn off Voice Carry Over mode when you are done with your 911 call.
Dialing 911 through Minnesota Relay may delay your connection to emergency personnel.