A social security disability claimant (other than those on kidney dialysis or suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease) must wait 24 months from the date disability benefits commenced before becoming Medicare eligible. If the individual is eligible for any retroactive Medicare benefits, this information will be included in an Award Certificate issued by the Social Security Administration. It is important to carefully consider options regarding Medicare Part A, the hospital insurance benefits, Medicare Part B, supplemental Medicare insurance benefits, and Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit. Generally, it's a good idea for claimants to accept to take out retroactive Medicare Part B coverage since the premiums are small in comparison to the benefits however, this may not be advisable if the claimant is already receiving VA medical care or a strong private insurance policy. Consultation with a competent attorney is often necessary to formulate the best action available.