It's complicated. You can only claim head of Household (HoH) if you have a qualifying dependent. If your brother is disable, he may qualify as a qualifying child dependent (QC). Otherwise, he may qualify as a qualifying relative dependent (QR).
There are two types of dependents, "Qualifying Children"(QC) and standard ("Qualifying Relative" in IRS parlance even though they don't have to actually be related). There is no income limit for a QC but there is an age limit and student status test, a relationship test and a residence test. Only a QC qualifies a taxpayer for the Earned Income Credit. A QC, over age 17, does not qualify for the child tax credit but does qualify for the (up to) $500 Other dependent credit. It is non-refundable. That is, it can only be used to reduce an actual tax liability.
A person closely related (a sibling counts) to a taxpayer can be a “Qualifying Child (QC)” dependent, regardless of the child's income, if:
- He is under age 19, or under 24 if a full time student for at least 5 months of the year, or is totally & permanently disabled
- He did not provide more than 1/2 his own support
- He lived with the relative (including temporary absences) for more than half the year
- He is younger than the relative (not applicable for a disabled child)
- If the child meets the rules to be a qualifying child of more than one person, you must be the person entitled to claim the child as a qualifying child (this essentially means that you have the parent’s permission to claim the child, if the child also lived with the parent more than half the year)
- If the parents of a child can claim the child as a qualifying child but no parent so claims the child, no one else can claim the child as a qualifying child unless that person's adjusted gross income (AGI) is higher than the highest AGI of any of the child's parents who can claim the child.
A person can still be a Qualifying relative dependent, if not a Qualifying Child, if he meets the 6 tests for claiming a dependent:
- Closely Related OR live with the taxpayer ALL year
- His/her gross taxable income for the year must be less than $4300 (2020).
- The taxpayer must have provided more than 1/2 his support
In either case:
- He must be a US citizen or resident of the US, Canada or Mexico
- He must not file a joint return with his spouse or be claiming a dependent of his own
- He must not be the qualifying child of another taxpayer
Nontaxable Social security doesn't count as income, for the income test, but social security money he spends on himself does count as support provided by himself (and not provided by you), for the support test. Money he puts into savings & investment does not count as support he spent on himself. Note that a sibling is closely related so there is no requirement that he live with you (to be a QR dependent) at any time, during the yea (but, he must live with you for more than half the year to be a qualifying person for HoH). But if you provided a home it helps your support case, unless they own the home you live in. If no one person (or married couple) provides 50% of the support (for example your siblings are also sending support), then a "multiple support agreement” (IRS Form 2120) can be used, to allow you to claim the dependent. https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f2120.pdf
The IRS has a worksheet that can be used to help with the support calculation. See: http://apps.irs.gov/app/vita/content/globalmedia/teacher/worksheet_for_determining_support_4012.pdf The support value of a home is the fair market rental value, divided by the number of occupants.
See full dependent rules at: https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Family/Rules-for-Claiming-a-Dependent-on-Your-Tax-Ret...