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Assistance Programs.

Minnesota Telephone Assistance Plan (TAP) & Lifeline

 

Minnesota’s Telephone Assistance Plan (TAP) offers a monthly credit of $10.00 on your landline telephone service. You may receive the TAP credit on one landline phone per household.

 

The federal Lifeline Program offers a monthly discount of $5.25 on a landline telephone service, or $9.25 on wireless telephone service, or $9.25 on a broadband internet service account. You may receive the Lifeline discount on one telephone or internet service per household. The broadband internet discount does not apply to TAP.

 

If you live on Tribal lands, you may qualify for additional discounts. Tribal lands Link Up offers a one-time credit of up to $100 on installation or activation charges. Tribal lands Lifeline offers an additional monthly credit of up to $25.00 on your landline, wireless telephone, or internet service plan.

 

The telephone or broadband service must be in your name. You must show proof that you or a member of your household participates in at least one of the following programs or is income-eligible:

  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Medicaid/Medical Assitance (MA)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veterans Pension or Survivors Pension Benefit Programs
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
  • Tribally-administered Head Start (for those meeting income-qualifying standards)
  • Tribally-administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF)

If you do not participate in any of the programs listed above, you may qualify if your income is at or below 135% of the 2021 Federal Poverty Income Guidelines: (The federal poverty guidelines are updated at the end of January.)

 

How do I apply?

Call NECA at 1-888-627-4255. They will do the verification process with you over the phone and can provide you with an application.

 

Could I become ineligible?

When you no longer participate in any of the qualifying programs listed above, you are no longer eligible for LifeLine, LinkUp or TAP. You are obligated by law to notify the telephone company and advise the company that you are no longer eligible for LifeLine, LinkUp, or TAP.

 

For more information and to see if you are eligible for either program, click the links below…

 

Annual Notice to Residential Customers for Telephone Assistance Program (TAP) and the Federal Lifeline Program

TAP Information & Application

Lifeline Information & Application

Lifeline Information & Application (En Espanol)

 

 

MINNESOTA RELAY

 

Minnesota Relay is a free telephone service that uses specially trained communications assistants (CAs) to facilitate telephone calls between people with hearing and speech disabilities and other individuals. Calls can be made to anywhere in the world (long distance charges apply), 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All calls are completely confidential.

 

To make a Minnesota Relay call dial 7-1-1. Once connected to the relay service, tell the CA the type of relay call you wish to make. Or, you may dial the specific toll free number for the type of relay service.

 

For information on Minnesota Relay Services: www.mnrelay.org or 1-800-657-3775.

 

Types of Relay Services

 

Captioned Telephone Service (CTS)

 

CTS uses a special telephone with a text display screen so that a person who is hard of hearing can listen to and read captions of everything the other person on the call says. You speak directly to the other person on the call, and a relay CA transcribes everything the other person says into captions, which appear on the display screen of your CTS phone.

 

Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS)

 

Internet-based forms of CTS are available for those who would like to use CTS on a computer, tablet, or select smartphones. Go to: www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/internet-protocol-ip-captioned-telephone-service.

 

Computer (ASCII): 1-800-627-3529

 

Computer users can access Minnesota Relay. Set your communications software to the following protocols: speeds ranging from 300 to 2400; 8 Bits; No Parity; 1 Stop Bit; Full Duplex. When calling at a rate of 300 or below, follow the above using Half Duplex.

 

Hearing Carry Over (HCO): 1-800-627-3529

 

HCO allows a person who can hear clearly but who has very limited or no speech capability to make and receive phone calls. Using a special text telephone, you type your conversation for the relay CA to read to the other person, and listen directly to the other person’s response.

 

Hearing User: 1-800-627-3529

 

A hearing person may use a standard telephone or mobile phone to place a relay call and speak with a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled.

 

Internet Protocol (IP) Relay

 

IP Relay combines text-based relay service with the ease of the Internet – no need for a TTY. You are able to make your relay call using a computer, laptop, tablet, or select smartphones. Go to: www.sprintrelay.com.

 

Spanish Relay: 1-877-627-5448

 

Spanish speaking persons with a hearing or speech disability are able to make relay calls. This is not a translation service – both parties must speak Spanish, and at least one party must have a hearing or speech disability.

 

Speech-to-Speech (STS): 1-877-627-3848

 

STS allows a person who has difficulty speaking or being understood on the phone to communicate using his or her own voice or voice synthesizer. The CA re-voices your words so that the other person on the call can understand them, and the other person speaks directly to you.

 

Text-Telephone (TTY): 1-800-627-3529

 

This service allows a person who is deaf, deaf-blind, or speech disabled to use a TTY to communicate with the other person on the call.

 

Video Relay Service (VRS)

 

VRS allows a person who uses American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate over the phone. The VRS user connects to the CA via an Internet-enabled device with a video camera. The CA relays the conversation back and forth between the parties – in ASL with the VRS user and by voice with the called party. Go to: www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/video-relay-services.

 

Voice Carry Over (VCO): 1-877-627-3024

 

VCO allows a person with a hearing disability, but who wants to use his or her own voice, to speak directly to the other party. The CA then types the other party’s response, which is displayed on the VCO user’s text telephone.

 

Important Information

 

Emergency Assistance

 

TTY callers should dial 9-1-1 directly in an emergency. All 9-1-1 centers are equipped to handle TTY calls. Minnesota Relay can process emergency calls, but this may delay the response to your call.

 

Billing Options for Long Distance Relay Calls

 

  • Direct
  • Collect
  • Pre-Paid Calling Card
  • Carrier Calling Card
  • Third-Party Billing

 

To File a Complaint Regarding Relay

 

Email your complaint to mn.relay@state.mn.us or call 1-800-657-3775. When filing your complaint please provide:

 

  • The date and time of the relay call
  • The CA’s identification number
  • The nature of your complaint

 

You may also file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission:

 

 

TELEPHONE EQUIPMENT DISTRIBUTION (TED) PROGRAM

 

The TED Program provides free telecommunications equipment to income-eligible Minnesotans who are having trouble using the telephone due to a hearing, speech, or physical disability. For more information on the TED Program: