COVINGTON, Ga., Feb. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Life Wireless™ is now providing subsidized mobile phone service to eligible low-income families and individuals in South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Maine. Life Wireless provides phone service through the federal Lifeline program, which was created by Congress in 1985 to ensure that all Americans have access to quality telephone service. To be eligible for the Lifeline program, potential subscribers must take part in a federal assistance program such as Medicaid or Food Stamps, or earn no more than 135 percent of the federal poverty level. Customers may not receive service from more than one Lifeline carrier at the same time. Customers receive a basic mobile handset with voicemail, text messaging, call waiting, and other features. Smart phones are not available. Calling plans offer up to 250 minutes a month. "We are excited to bring our services to these three states," said Jim Carpenter, a senior vice president with Life Wireless. "Our sales representatives go into the community to reach those most in need of telephone service, thus fulfilling the mission of the Lifeline program." The challenging economy has swelled the ranks of the poor in all three states. In South Carolina, for example, about 900,000 residents are living in poverty, compared to 657,000 in 2006. "A cellphone is no longer a luxury item. It's a critical tool that helps people to stay in touch with their doctors, loved ones, and potential employers, and enables them to contact 911 during an emergency," said Carpenter. Life Wireless recently had its compliance plan approved by the Federal Communications Commission. The compliance plan details the industry-leading steps Life Wireless takes to preserve the integrity of the federal Lifeline program and deliver affordable telephone service to eligible low-income families and individuals. Life Wireless performs multiple checks on each potential customer to verify that they qualify for phone service through the Lifeline program. All Life Wireless sales representatives receive extensive training and oversight to ensure that company policies are upheld.