What is the ruling if someone who does not earn enough to support themselves, living with their mother, giving of one's small savings in order to help an elder brother who is going through financial problems. (the financial problems may be due to substance abuse or being excessively open handed with his friends and associates) Also, if the older brother has expressed interest in Islam. Also, if ones mother would be opposed to the younger assisting the older brother, would her permission be required?

Helping elder brother is recommended but primarily one has a responsibility to themselves and their dependents.

Sounds like elder brother needs some professional help dealing with the issues, if due to your help he comes close to Islam then it is definitely worth it.

In these scenarios, permission from the mother is not necessary.