Army: Manning to lose transgender benefits

Army: Manning to lose transgender benefits
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The Army says former Pvt. Chelsea Manning will lose her military healthcare benefits following President Obama’s commutation of her prison sentence.

“If Pvt. Manning is discharged with a dishonorable discharge, she will lose her entitlement to benefits, including gender-transition care at medical treatment facilities,” Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith told USA Today Wednesday.

Smith said Manning’s dishonorable discharge was included in the terms of the 35-year prison sentence imposed on her in 2013.

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Manning was convicted of leaking classified information about U.S. military and national security activities that were later publicly disclosed by WikiLeaks.

Smith said Manning could appeal her discharge determination, noting a failed appeal would ultimately result in dishonorable discharge from the Army.

Manning would also be barred from benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs under that status, Smith added.

The Army has been providing Manning with treatment for gender dysphoria, USA Today said, including hormone treatments.

Manning, born Bradley Manning, was also a candidate for gender-reassignment surgery, it added, which would have been paid for under the Pentagon’s new policy for transgender troops.

Manning had already served seven years of her prison sentence when the White House announced the commutation on Tuesday.

The former soldier was originally scheduled for release in 2045 and will now regain her freedom on May 17 instead.

Obama defended his decision Wednesday, noting he is satisfied with the severity of Manning’s punishment.

“It has been my view given that she went to trial, that due process was carried out, that she took responsibility for her crime,” he said during his final press conference as president.

"That the sentence that she received was very disproportionate relative to what other leakers had received and that she had served a significant amount of time, that it made sense to commute and not pardon her sentence,” Obama added. "I feel very comfortable that justice has been served.”

Manning, who was initially serving the longest sentence ever imposed for a leak conviction, tried committing suicide twice during her incarceration.