Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese continued his push for a rise to Newstart during his visit to Nowra on Tuesday but refused to put a figure on the increase.
Mr Albanese said $40 a day was "not enough" to live on and it was impacting recipients' ability to find work.
"Well quite clearly it's fallen behind... this has had an impact on real people," he said.
"We live in a country that should be wealthy enough that people who are seeking work and doing their best shouldn't be driven into poverty,
"It has an impact on their capacity to find work because they can't get to interviews, they can't get themselves in a position to both advocate for themselves and in terms of physical appearance."
Homeless shelters in the Shoalhaven and Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips have also called for an increase to the payment.
Someone on Newstart who gets an extra dollar will spend that dollar, it won't go into savings, it won't be put aside for a rainy day, because it's showering on people right nowLabor Leader Anthony Albanese
Shoalhaven Homeless Hub manager Kerri Snowden said she would like to see Newstart "brought into line with the level of the Disability Support Pension" but the opposition leader would not name a figure.
"I'm not putting a figure on it because I want the government to do the proper assessments," Mr Albanese said.
"One of the things I'm determined to do as the Labor leader is not to pretend that we are the government today because we're not.
"We are in a position, though, to hold the government to account, and to encourage them to do the right thing."
Department of Social Service figures have shown the proportion of Newstart recipients on payments for longer than a year has climbed from 69 per cent in 2014 to 73 per cent in 2016.
Mr Albanese said the way to address the large proportion of long-term Newstart recipients was to focus on job creation.
"I guess you've got to try to obviously promote employment. It is the case today there are more people that are unemployed than there are jobs that are available," he said.
"The other thing is that there is, of course, significant underemployment so when some jobs are created it's soaked up by people who are looking for more work than they currently get."
Mr Albanese said there was an economic imperative to see an increase to Newstart.
"Someone on Newstart who gets an extra dollar will spend that dollar, it won't go into savings, it won't be put aside for a rainy day, because it's showering on people right now," he said.
"It's pouring, in terms of hardship, on them."
Despite growing calls, the Morrison Government is yet to move to increase the payment.
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said on Monday that everyone on Newstart, with the right amount of assistance, can find a job.