The Accident Compensation Corporation will backdate payments to those injured in last Tuesday's quake to the date of the event.
ACC Minister Nick Smith says Cabinet has decided ACC will meet the costs of the first week's income compensation because of the widespread effect on businesses.
An employer is normally responsible for the first week of income compensation for a work injury, and the employee for a non-work injury.
Dr Smith says the earthquake occurred at lunchtime, which risked a debate about whether each case was a work or non-work injury.
He says 2000 claims have already been processed and another 8000 are expected, bringing ACC's total quake claims bill to an estimated $370 million.
Assistance package kicks in
More than 3500 applicants received payments on Wednesday from the Earthquake Support Subsidies and Earthquake Job Loss Cover scheme.
The Government has paid employers who believe they are going to remain in business but are unable to pay their staff.
People who no longer have a job as a result of the quake receive between $240 and $400 a week.
The payments are backdated to the day of the quake, 22 February, and will continue for up to six weeks.