"Disbursement of compensation to the families of 17 deceased persons has begun in keeping with the implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI)," said a government statement citing a justice ministry official, adding this amounted to $153,000 per individual.
It gave no details on who the recipients were.
The BICI, an investigative body head by international legal experts, said in November 35 people died during the unrest, which began in February 2011 after revolts in Egypt and Tunisia.
The dead were mainly protesters, but also included five security personnel and seven foreigners. The report said five people died due to torture.
Bahrain, host to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, has been under pressure to implement the BICI recommendations of police, judicial, media and education reform.
But the country remains in turmoil as opposition groups led by the Shi'ite Muslim majority continue protests for democratic reforms and against what they say is discrimination.
The government, led by the Sunni Al Khalifa family, has given parliament more rights of scrutiny over ministries and budgets but rejected opposition demands for full legislative powers and elected government.