Deemed Election by Former Spouse:

The DD Form 2656 does not require a former spouse's signature. To prevent that former spouse from being at the mercy of a retiring servicemember who does not elect former spouse coverage,10 U.S.Code § 1450(3) authorizes the former spouse directly to elect former spouse coverage.The former spouse may do this deemed election within one year of the order requiring former spouse SBP coverage by completing a DD Form 2656-10, Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) / Reserve Component (RC) SBP Request For Deemed Election.

Military Divorce Guide

I think election just means selection or choosing. But I cannot figure out what deemed means, although I know deem means judge, as in "this will be deemed unnecessary". I think deem in this context is a legal term, but I cannot penetrate its meaning. Wikipedia confirms it is a legal term:

Deem in law is used to treat something as if it were really something else or it has qualities it does not have.

But I still don't understand what deemed election is.


1 Answer 1


Duhaime.com defines deem as meaning

To accept a document or an event as conclusive of a certain status in the absence of evidence or facts which would normally be required to prove that status.

This definition is pretty close to "pretend for legal purposes".

If the former spouse fills out "a DD Form 2656-10", the government will pretend that that the retiring service member chose "former spouse coverage". This is a "deemed election" instead of a regular "election", because the government knows that the retiring service member did not actually make that "election" (choice), but the government will "deem" (pretend for legal purposes) that he or she did make that choice.

  • Thank you so much @Jasper. You have perfectly answered my question though I'm still confused as I don't why a former spouse would be given the right to choose himself/herself as the recipient of the benefit money. Shouldn't this be an exclusive right to the service member?
    – Sara
    Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 3:28
  • 1
    @Sara A divorce might not be amicable, and the service member may not choose what is best for the former spouse wants. The former spouse is entitled to certain medical coverage, so this is a convenient legal device designed to make sure everyone gets what they want.
    – Andrew
    Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 3:41

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