Virginia Relay is a service that relays conversations between people who use text telephones (TTYs/Computers) or Telebraille (TB) and people who use standard telephones, 24 hours a day, every day. There is no charge to access Virginia Relay. A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or has difficulty speaking voices or types his or her conversation using a special phone. A person who is deaf-blind may use either a TTY or TB.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Virginia Relay’s service provider?
Virginia Relay’s telecommunications service provider is Hamilton Telecommunications. This means that every call is routed to one of five Hamilton Relay call centers and answered by the first available Communication Assistant (CA). All Hamilton Relay CAs receive the same training and follow the same rules and protocols for call handling. That means we can expect each and every call made through Virginia Relay to accommodate personal calling preferences and be processed promptly, professionally and accurately by Hamilton’s specially-trained CAs.
Does Virginia Relay cost money to use?
There is no charge to use Virginia Relay within the local calling area, and there are no set-up fees, even for calls made from public and TTY pay phones. Long-distance calls are billed to your provider of choice (if you do not designate a preferred long-distance carrier, we’ll bill your calls through our own long-distance provider at a discounted rate.)
Will my conversations be kept confidential?
Yes! By law, our CAs must maintain absolute confidentiality about all conversations and there is no record of the conversation.
Why does Virginia Relay recommend completing a Customer Profile and how is it used?
Customer Profiles allow individuals to establish calling preferences that are automatically displayed on the relay operator's screen. This can save on call-time and make relay calls smoother and easier.
Can I choose a specific carrier for my long-distance Relay calls?
Absolutely! The best way to designate—and update, if necessary—your preferred long-distance carrier is by completing a Relay Choice Profile online or by calling Virginia Relay Customer Service, 1-866-894-4116 (voice) or 1-866-246-9300 (TTY). Please note that if you do not designate a preferred carrier, your call will be billed by Virginia Relay’s long-distance provider at a discounted rate.
What is CapTel™? Is it available to Virginia Relay users?
A specialized technology developed by Ultratec®, CapTel allows people who are hard of hearing to read a captioned version of their conversations on the text screen of their phones and listen directly to the voice of the person they are calling at the same time. CapTel phones are available through the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) at a discount or no cost. Call 1-800-552-7917 (voice/TTY) to request an application.
Are there any features specifically designed for sign language users?
Video Relay Service (VRS), makes it possible for sign language users to communicate in their native language using a special video device. Click here for details.
What about features for Spanish speakers?
Virginia Relay offers many features for Spanish users, including Spanish-to-English and English-to-Spanish translation and Speech-To-Speech (STS). To access these services, dial 7-1-1 and tell the CA which type of translation you need.
How do I apply for free or reduced-price telecommunications equipment?
Call VDDHH Customer Service 1-800-552-7917 (voice) or 1-866-246-9300 (TTY) to request an application or visit www.vddhh.org to learn more.
What if my relay equipment breaks or is stolen or destroyed?
Through VDDHH’s Technology Assistance Loan Program (TAP-LOAN), Relay users can borrow telecommunications equipment for up to 30 days. To learn more, call VDDHH Customer service, 1-800-552-7917 .
Is there a place where I can test relay equipment that I am interested in purchasing? What if I am homebound but still want to test relay equipment?
VDDHH’s Outreach Program has offices at several locations across Virginia to give individuals the opportunity to test relay equipment before applying or purchasing. Each Center features knowledgeable staff members who can explain and demonstrate the various types of relay equipment offered.
For those who are homebound, staff members are available to provide in-home equipment demonstrations. To request a home visit, call VDDHH Customer Service at 1-800-552-7917.
I have a three-year-old child who is deaf. Is relay equipment designed for all ages, or do I need to purchase age-specific equipment?
Certain types of relay equipment are designed specifically for children who are deaf, hard of hearing, DeafBlind or speech disabled. To learn more call VDDHH Customer Service, 1-800-552-7917.
What is Virginia Relay Partner?
A free, educational program for the business community, Virginia Relay Partner helps teach businesses how to make and receive Relay calls, thereby reducing or eliminating the hang ups Relay users sometimes experience when conducting business by phone. Any business, large or small, based in Virginia is eligible. After joining, businesses can download an assortment of helpful training and educational materials, including employee and employer guides, a Virginia Relay calling tips poster and more. Click here to learn more.
Can I request a Relay Partner presentation for my business or organization?
Absolutely! Virginia Relay representatives are always available to visit your business and make a free presentation on the benefits of taking and placing Relay calls. To schedule a presentation, call 1-800-552-7917 (voice/TTY).
Does Virginia Relay offer sign language courses?
While Virginia Relay does not offer sign language classes, several opportunities are available around the state including the interpreter training programs at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. For a complete list of classes, contact VDDHH Customer Service, at 1-800-552-7917.