Dual Party Relay Services help hearing- or speech-impaired individuals communicate via the telephone. These services are required by Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act and to the extent possible and must be functionally equivalent to standard telephone services. Communications Assistants (CAs) relay the content of calls between users of special Text Telephones (TTYs) and users of traditional telephones. For example, a TTY user can use the phone by calling a TRS provider (or relay center), where a CA will place the call to the voice user and relay the conversation by transcribing spoken content for the TTY user and reading text aloud for the voice user.
Costs for Relay Service-enabled calls made within a state are paid by the individual states. Generally, states recover the Relay Service costs through a small assessment on all telephone customers in the state. This charge is used to fund the relay centers and special equipment that assist hearing- and speech-impaired persons to communicate. Costs for state-to-state Relay Service calls are paid through an interstate Relay Service fund, which is supported through contributions from all interstate carriers.