Federal Relay Transitions November 2021

Federal Relay (FedRelay) was established by Congress under the Telecommunications Accessibility Act of 1988, to provide intermediary telecommunications services to the deaf, hard of hearing and those with speech disabilities within the Federal Government. It also gave federal agencies a way to meet their obligation under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to provide reasonable accommodations to employees in the workplace. From 1993-2007, FedRelay was a standalone contract centrally billed through the Government Services Administration (GSA), until January 1, 2008, when services became direct billed to each federal agency.

FedRelay currently provides seven essential communication services that are used by thousands of deaf and hard of hearing federal employees to perform the duties of their jobs.

About FedRelay Transition

In March 2021, the GSA announced it would be transitioning the telecommunications services from a central Federal Relay contract to a combination of FCC funded and agency contracted services.

Effective November 15, 2021, the GSA FedRelay contract with Sprint expires, and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS) program will begin to fund five of the seven services. The two services, not funded by FCC-TRS, will be available under the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) or provided by the agency.

NOTE: Remote Captioning (RCC) and Video Remote Interpreting (VRI), the two services not provided by TRS will be provided to NIH in house by the ORS Interpreting Services program, under the existing contract with Access Interpreting (AI).


FCC-TRS FUNDED SERVICES AI Interpreting Contract
Video Relay Service (VRS)RCC (Captioning Services)
Captioned Telephone Service (CPTS)Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)
Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IPCTS)
Internet Protocol Relay (IP Relay)
Speech to Speech (STS)
Text Telephone Relay (TTY)


What FedRelay consumers can do now to avoid service interruptions?

1.       Register for your new relay services at https://ocio.nih.gov/ITGovPolicy/NIH508/Documents/Instructions.docx

2.       Email the following to the NIH Relay Officer Erica Williams at  CIT508Coordinator@mail.nih.gov:

  • Your 10-digit videophone number
  • Your selected relay service(s)
  • Your selected relay service vendor(s)

3.       STOP using FedRelay and START using the TRS and/ or AI Contract, for which you have registered. NOTE: Requests for VRI and RCC must be entered here https://access.usked.com/.

4.       Remove all FedRelay and TTY numbers and replace with 711. 711 will send callers to the free, state-provided TTY service. Edit the announcement disclaimer by removing the FedRelay phone number and replacing it with 711:

  a. Sign language interpreting services are available upon request. Individuals who need interpreting services and/or other reasonable accommodations to participate in this event should contact NAMEXXX, PHONEXXXX or call 711 for Maryland Relay.  Requests should be made five days in advance of the event.

5.       If you are currently using a ZVRS Z5 Video Phone, follow the FCC instructions for your device.

For the State of Maryland
Telecommunications Relay Service Provider - Hamilton Relay; Captioned Telephone Service Maryland Telecommunications Relay Service Customer Care: (Maryland Relay)

Voice/TTY: 866-269-9006
Fax: 866-269-9831
email: mdrelay@hamiltonrelay.com

CapTel Customer Service
Voice/TTY: 888-269-7477
Spanish: 866-670-9134
email: info@hamiltoncaptel.com

Additional Resources
How to register for the Federal Relay services: https://ocio.nih.gov/ITGovPolicy/NIH508/Documents/Infographic1.pdf.  

Learn more about the NIH/ORS Interpreting Services Program: https://ors.od.nih.gov/pes/emb/interpret/Pages/default.aspx.    

Contact your IC's Section 508 coordinator for general 508 compliance questions.

For questions about transitioning your Federal Relay services, contact Erica Williams at  CIT508Coordinator@mail.nih.gov.


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