Deaf and hard-of-hearing Florida residents can get help finding phone access.

Florida Telecommunications Relay Inc. (FTRI) is a statewide nonprofit organization that provides special phones for the deaf, hard of hearing, blind or speech impaired. If you meet their qualifications and are having trouble getting adequate phone access, FTRI may be able to help. FTRI was formed by the local telephone companies under the direction of the Florida Public Service Committee to comply with the Telecommunications Access System Act. FTRI loans out telephone equipment for as long as it is needed.

Find out if you are eligible for the program. According to FTRI, you need to be 3 years old or older, a permanent Florida resident and be certified as hard of hearing, deaf, deaf/blind or speech impaired.

Know the terms of the agreement. These items cannot be sold, given away or loaned to anyone else. The item must be returned to FTRI if it's no longer needed or if the person moves outside of the state of Florida.

Go to the FTRI website and print off an application. Fill out the application. The application will ask for basic identifying information and will ask you to choose the phone equipment you are requesting.

Take the application to an approved certifier and have her fill out Part 2 of the application.

Mail the application to FTRI or take it to a regional distribution center to receive your phone. You can find a list of regional distribution center locations on the FTRI website. If you are mailing the application, mail it to: Florida Telecommunications Relay Inc. Attn: New Clients 1820 E. Park Ave., Ste. 101 Tallahassee, FL 32301


  • Take good care of the device so it can be passed on to the next user.