The IUB runs Relay Iowa and Telecommunications Access Iowa. The programs are funded by telecommunications service taxes. They provide assistive telephone services to Iowans who are, deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, or have difficulty speaking.
Relay Iowa is a telephone relay service that helps individuals who have hearing and/or speech difficulties communicate by phone. During a Relay Iowa phone call, an assistant helps in a variety of ways to make the call work. There is no per-minute charge for the service.
Telecommunications Access Iowa helps people pay for specialized communication devices. This might include telephones, amplifiers, captioning, or wireless devices. People with hearing or speech difficulties who qualify can receive a voucher for up to 95 percent of the typical cost of specialized devices.
Dual Party Relay Assessment
Iowa law requires local telecommunication service providers in the state to pay three cents ($0.03) per month for each phone number served in Iowa. Each year the service providers report the number of phone hook ups provided for the previous calendar year in the IBU 24/7 app. The reporting deadline is April 1st.
Iowa Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program
This program is promoted by iCanConnect. It aims to help people with combined hearing and vision loss get modern communication tools and learn how to use them. Then they can be part of and contribute to society. The program provides testing, telecommunication devices, and training for participants.
The Federal Communications Commission started iCanConnect as a test program in 2011. It became permanent in 2016. Each state has its own statewide program. Iowa's program is run by the Helen Keller Nation Center, Great Plains Regional Office, in Shawnee Mission, Kansas.