You live in New York where a single person can only protect a total of $2,500 of liquid assets. This includes cash, money in the bank and entitlement to tax refunds. It sounds like your liquid assets added up to more than $2,500.
When that happens, the trustee can make you turn over the difference. Your personal situation is quite compelling. However, a trustee has very little discretion in collecting non-exempt assets.
Either an asset is exempt or it isn't. If the asset is not protected, then the trustee can take it for the benefit of your creditors. It does not matter that you badly need the funds.
It also does not matter that you already received a discharge. That is not related to a trustee's duties to pursue assets.
It is too late now, but you could have engaged in some pre-bankruptcy planning to avoid this result. Had you known or anticipated that you would receive a large tax refund, you could have waited to file, so that you could have collected the refund first, and then spent it down in a manner consistent with filing for bankruptcy in good faith.
These are all issues I wrote about at great length recently on my bankruptcy blog. Tax refunds becomes a major issue at this time of year that I wrote a series entitled: BANKRUPTCY and TAX REFUNDS -- EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW. The link to this is below.
I do wish you good luck!