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What’s currently happening at Historic Claims

Update on rapid payments

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care has called for advance payments to historic abuse survivors who due to age or serious illness may not be able to access the new redress system when it is developed and implemented. By way of response, the Government agreed to develop a rapid payment option for use within existing claims processes to address long wait-times for claimants. Crown agencies reflected on this and developed a framework to make rapid payments to claimants which was approved by Ministers. Given its large number of claimants the Ministry of Social Development has started delivering rapid payments first with an initial focus on those survivors who are seriously ill or unwell, or aged 70 years or older. To read about the government’s announcement around the starting of rapid payments, go to Rapid payments starting for historical abuse claimants |

MSD began offering payments under the Rapid Payment Framework at the end of 2022 to survivors who are seriously ill, aged 70 years or older, and those with the oldest claims. Claimants have the choice of having their claim assessed under the rapid payment framework or an individualised assessment, or they can put their claim on hold until the new redress process is developed depending on what is important to them. Whichever pathway a claimant chooses they will be able to access all other parts of the Historic Claims process, including:

  • having the opportunity to tell their story and be heard
  • be assisted to access supports and services, such as counselling, wraparound support services, etc
  • be provided with a copy of their files and have their questions about their time in care answered.
  • receive an apology letter from the Ministry’s Chief Executive.
Rapid Payment

Rapid Payments are now fully integrated into the Ministry's historic claims process and the number of rapid payments completed each month continues to grow. The speed with which rapid payments can be completed has enabled us to connect with more claimants and progress more claims than in recent financial years.

The rapid payment option is currently being chosen by more than 70% of claimants who are offered the option of receiving a rapid payment.

Generally, the feedback from claimants who Historic Claims has worked with directly has been positive. These claimants have appreciated the speed of getting a rapid payment, not being required to share full details of their abuse, and the opportunity to choose an assessment option depending on what is important to them, while for other claimants it remains important to have their concerns individually assessed.

Some feedback has been critical, focusing on the amount being offered with some claimants expecting a larger payment as well as some concerns which have been raised about settling historic claims on a full and final basis. Payment levels are being considered as part of the design of the new, independent redress system.

How rapid payments are worked out

Rapid payments are calculated based on the length of time a person was involved with Child Youth and Family or its predecessor agencies and is not calculated based on a claimant’s individual experience and concerns. This acknowledges that the longer a person has been involved with the State, the more likely they will have experienced harm. Whereas an individualised assessment is a more detailed assessment which takes more time as it considers a claimant’s specific concerns and care experiences and also includes reviewing all of the claimant’s care records. The Rapid Payment Framework was designed to be broadly on par with existing payment levels.

How we’re doing on resolving claims


The following table describes the totals for claims received and closed for each financial year from 2016/17 to 2022/23, along with an annual update of the number of claims in MSD's process.

Breakdown of claims received, closed and in process for the financial years from 2016 to 2023








Claims Received








Claims completed and Closed








Claims still to be completed (This covers all claims with Historic Claims, they are at different stages in the process)








The following chart shows high-level information about the numbers of claims Historic Claims has received between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2023.



Purple bars show the claims received, blue bars show the claims closed and the green line shows claims that are still being processed.

How the claims process has changed over the years

The Historic Claims process is an out of court alternative dispute resolution process which was developed and implemented by the Ministry across 2007 and 2008. Over time it became apparent that even though the Ministry was endeavouring to efficiently settle claims, it was still receiving claims faster than it could settle them. In May 2015 the Ministry rolled out the two-path approach as a one-off mechanism to reduce the number of claims the Ministry had in the process.

In 2017 the two-path approach was put on hold while the Ministry worked through how to incorporate the lessons it had learned from the two-path approach and to undertake a consultation with claimants, with a particular focus on Māori claimants. Information about the consultation is available at: Improving the historic abuse claims resolution process - Ministry of Social Development (

A new assessment process was rolled out on 1 November 2018 which was a culmination of all the previous work. The Ministry made changes to the actual process for assessing claims, significantly increased capacity and diversity of the Historic Claims Team and put continuous improvement measures into place.

Our commitment to continuous improvement aims to align with the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care expectation of the Crown to continue working to make improvements to its claim processes as the Royal Commission continues to form recommendations in relation to Crown redress systems.

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