A RULE which effectively prevents the disabled from obtaining free special needs benefits is to be abolished by the Government. The percentage deduction rule requires public assistance recipients to contribute as much as 75 per cent of their disability allowances for benefits like wheelchairs and telephones. Under the current rule, people who receive allowances, particularly the higher allowance of $1,800 a month, are required to pay a proportional amount towards special benefits. The theory is they should share in the costs of their special needs from the allowances they are given. Wheelchairs are considered expensive items and fall into this category. Government handouts cover the installation of telephones in urgent cases, but recipients are expected to shoulder the costs of regular quarterly fees. Chief Social Security Officer, Mr Siu King-chiu, said yesterday, the rule had proved to be ''a stumbling block'' for people in genuine need. He said it would be abolished with the implementation of the new Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme and Social Security Allowance Scheme on July 1. He was reacting to a call from the Hongkong Council of Social Service for the scrapping of the rule for all special and discretionary payments. It stipulates that clients must pay for some of their special needs with percentage deductions. Mr Siu said: ''It has been the subject of serious consideration for the past two months, especially while we've been preparing to implement the new scheme which comes in on July 1. ''We hope it will be a real improvement and that its abolition will do away with problems for many public assistance recipients.'' The government had never given an undertaking that there would be a 15 per cent across the board increase for recipients, he said yesterday, in response to criticism that some categories would see a small increase. Finance Committee papers had proposed standard increases ranging from four to 37 per cent. At the bottom of the scale was a disabled child, requiring constant care, whose total allowances would be rising from $2,700 to $2,795 or four per cent. At the other end was an able-bodied adult whose total allowances would go up to $895, or by 37 per cent, he said. On the council's contention that a severely disabled child would actually be losing $5 from the disability allowance, Mr Siu said: ''I can't figure out how their calculations were done, because there are two components to the disability allowance, the special needs allowance and the child care supplement.'' Mr Siu gave an assurance that the de-linking of public assistance and the special needs allowance would not mean recipients of disability allowances losing out. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Social Welfare Department said that someone like Mr Chan, the man who felt compelled to turn down a wheelchair because his contribution towards it would have left him with too little to live on for one month, would be entitled to compassionate housing, a double rent allowance and an extra $14 a month to cover water charges. People in similar circumstances should approach the medical social worker at the hospital they attend or seek help from the medical social service.