Support Section - VRS Questions & Answers

About Federal Video Relay Service:

Federal Video Relay Service (VRS) enables a user who uses sign language to communicate via videoconferencing with a certified Video Interpreter (VI) through the Internet. The VI then voices/relays the signed conversation over the phone – in real time – to the hearing caller (standard telephone users).By using sign language over the full motion video, this allows the sign language user their natural language to convey facial expression and cues to ensure that nothing gets lost in the translation.

Federal VRS Toll Free Numbers:

  • Videophone: (877) 709-5797
  • ISDN Access: 877.709.5798
  • Spanish ISDN Access: 866.284.6939

Is the conversation I share through Federal VRS confidential?

Yes, interpreters have been trained to abide by the RID/NAD Code of Ethics and the FCC's regulations regarding consumer rights to privacy and confidentiality. Interpreters are monitored for compliance toward Federal's policy of confidentiality.

Are the interpreters qualified and certified?

Yes, we have professionally trained interpreters certified by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) CI/CT or CSC and/or the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) Level IV or V for English/ASL calls.

For Hearing Callers:

  • If the sign language user has a Video Phone or Video Relay Software/Application- Dial 877-709-5801 (no appointment is necessary). Provide the interpreter with your agency name, and the sign language user's ten digit telephone number.

How can I provide special instructions to the VI?

If you have a specific request, notify the video interpreter (VI) of your specific request before placing your call – type in the field or sign your instructions.

Spanish Translation En Español

Sign language to Spanish is now available for sign language users to communicate with hearing users (telephone standard user) that speak Spanish. Video Interpreters will translate sign language to Spanish, and Spanish to sign language (Spanish sign language to Spanish is currently not available.)

To use Video Relay Service with Spanish:

  • Videophone users: (877) 709- 5797 and choose option 2 for Spanish
  • ISDN Access: 866.284.6939

To use Voice Carry Over (VCO) call:

Video Relay Service (VRS) with Voice Carry Over (VCO) allows a deaf or hard-of-hearing user, who prefers to voice for themselves, to speak directly to their called party while a video interpreter signs what the hearing person is saying.

Notify the Video Interpreter that you want to use VCO and provide your phone number to the Video Interpreter. The Video Interpreter will call you back, and then they will call/connect the person you want to speak directly. The person you called will be able to hear your voice. The Video Interpreter will interpret/sign what the hearing person says.

No 711 and TTY Relay Calls

Federal VRS handles only video to voice calls or voice to video relay calls. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has ruled that Video Relay Service through a TTY relay service is not permitted.

Relay calls are acceptable under HIPPA requirements

Important information for Health Care Professionals concerned about the impact of the Health Insurance Portability and Account Act (HIPPA) on the use of relay services is available on the web:

Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Public Notice clarifying use of relay services by Health Care Professionals: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-04-1716A1.doc

Will I be billed for VRS long distance calls?

There is no cost for local or long distance calls within the United States and/or U.S territories.

How do I add Federal VRS number to my contact and/or address book? 

You can follow the step-by-step instuctions here by downloading the PDF here.